Home / News / India /  Athleisure big win among shoppers as lockdowns drive up demand

NEW DELHI: Apparel retailers reported strong demand for athleisure clothing and inner wear in the March quarter, a trend that saw an uptick last year and is likely to benefit this year as India’s covid-induced lockdowns persist.

On Friday Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail (ABFRL) said its active athleisure innerwear segment grew 56% over the same quarter last year driven by solid e-commerce growth.

The company’s Van Heusen brand sells inner wear for men and women apart from athleisure such as tracks, joggers, pants, t-shirts, shorts for both men and women.

“The performance was also aided by aggressive demand for the category including comfort wear and athleisure. The business also expanded its distribution footprint by adding over 5,500 new trade outlets during the year. On a full-year basis, the business recovered strongly and was ahead of last year levels, thus validating the strength of the brand Van Heusen in inner-wear and athleisure categories," it said in its earnings release.

Last year, several companies rolled out more casual, at-home apparel as demand for formal and occasion wear remained weak. India’s current lockdown is set to bring back the trends again as consumers stay indoors and continue to buy casual wear. Meanwhile, retailers reported significant slump in business on account of prolonged store closures in 2020.

It also helped that sales grew on the back of normalized demand as the quarter saw improvement in footfalls and as consumer mobility increased.

India’s athleisure market is estimated at 54,000 crore growing at 18-20% annually.

Meanwhile, Page Industries that sells inner-wear and athleisure for men and women under the brand Jockey too reported an uptick in demand in March quarter.

Brokerage ICICI Securities said Page Industries benefited from strong athleisure demand during the quarter.

"Management stated that they are witnessing trends like strong demand for athleisure segment [which is expected to continue], good footfalls [in Q4FY21] with almost all stores operating and robust e-commerce demand," the brokerage added in its report released on Friday.

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