Home >Industry >Retail >Retailers scout for local options to replace imports from China

Local retailers may rescind contracts on Chinese imports of unbranded low-value footwear, accessories, bags, and cosmetics amid an anti-China rhetoric following the violent clash in Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, along with the government’s call to promote indigenous goods under the “vocal for local" push.

Several retailers are having conversations with their sourcing teams to look for alternatives locally. “We have already discussed with our merchandising team. We should try and avoid China this time. At least for this particular year, we will not sell anything from China," said Lalit Agarwal, chairman and managing director at value retailer V-Mart, which has over 260 stores across the country. The company imports a small portion of its general merchandise, including footwear, kidswear and some accessories, from China. V-Mart is looking for local partners to supply such goods at competitive prices. Earlier in the year, several domestic retailers halted orders from China due to high number of coronavirus cases there.

Trade has resumed but there is an uncertainty about orders from China, Agarwal said.

Apparel and footwear retailer Woodland is scouting for local alternatives to Chinese imports for certain raw materials. However, the company said it will take another quarter to reduce reliance on Chinese imports as it “isn’t an overnight job". The retailer has 20 factories ensuring 80% of its production is domestic.

“With the recent advice of the ministry, we too are working towards ensuring the maximum production within our facilities. We will certainly try to move out of China or look for alternatives for our raw materials and technical requirements, which might take some time to be supplied by Indian raw material suppliers," said Harkirat Singh, managing director, Woodland.

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