To provide an added impetus to its plans in retailing branded textiles and apparel, Reliance Industries plans to set up a manufacturing facility in specialised apparel for its recently re-launched flagship brand Vimal.
The new facility is likely to come up in south India in the next 6-9 months, said Reliance executives. However, the capacity details of the facility will be divulged later.
Currently, Reliance outsources a bulk of the apparel needs of its three Vimal sub-brands, Black, White and Red. But, it is keen on establishing a manufacturing base for specialised garments such as suits and jackets.
Anand Parekh, president, textile business, RIL said, "The company will invest in technological inputs for the specialised products. We would be setting up a garment manufacturing unit for apparels such as suits and jackets in Bangalore."
Reliance is also exploring inorganic growth opportunities in fabric processing to strengthen its presence in the apparel market. However, company executives ruled out acquisitions of any manufacturing facilities.
Parekh said, "Fibre, yarn and weaving is available in plenty, but fabric processing is a crucial aspect for value addition. The company is willing to opt for inorganic options for process houses, where technology plays an important role."
Reliance has positioned Black as a premium men's formal wear brand, inspired by Italian designs. Over the past year, the company has undertaken workshops with Indian tailors under the guidance of Italian designer Maurizio Bonas, president of the 'Made in Italy' committee. Vimal White is positioned as the mid-premium label, while Red will cater to the popular segment.
The company's move is also expected to fetch dividends in its exports business, which currently accounts for about 22 per cent of India's total textile exports.
Recently, Reliance forward-integrated into exporting finished garments to derive better realisations in a scenario where margins are under pressure due to currency appreciation. Parekh said that apart from fabric, the company intends to become a one stop shop of apparels such as jackets, suits and trousers.
"It's one way of hedging against rupee appreciation, while providing value-added offerings to the clients," he said.
Reliance opened the first revamped Vimal store at Ahmedabad and plans to roll out 24 outlets in the next six months. The menswear market is pegged at around Rs 37,000 crore (Rs 370 billion), with branded menswear comprising Rs 12,000 crore (Rs 120 billion).