Walkaroo to set up manufacturing unit in Rajasthan

CHENNAI: Noted footwear brand Walkaroo International Ltd is setting up a new greenfield manufacturing facility in Rajasthan at an investment of Rs 70 crore as it plans to strengthen presence in the northern market, according to a company official.

With two-thirds of the revenue contributed from the southern region, the company expects to garner a topline of Rs 2,100 crore during the current financial year, Walkaroo International Ltd Director Rajesh Kurian said on Sunday.

According to him, the Coimbatore-based company reaches out to 1.5 lakh retail outlets through its 750 distributors.

“We have close to 5 per cent market share in the footwear market and we are at the bottom of the pyramid market. What we manufacture is polyurethane synthetic. In our new factory in Rajasthan, we will be producing rubber hawai (slippers) which will cater to markets like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” he told PTI.

Elaborating, he said, “The new factory is under process. We will be manufacturing the rubber hawai products there. Already, we have a facility in Haryana where we make polyurethane synthetic products.”

The new facility will see investments worth Rs 70 crore and the company is expected to create about 600-700 new jobs in Rajasthan through the unit, he said responding to a query.

On group financials, he said the firm registered revenues of Rs 1,850 crore last year and this year has set a target of garnering Rs 2,100 crore.

“We are also exporting our products to the Middle East and we have a facility in Dhaka to serve the Bangladesh market. We are also planning to enter the African market…,” he said.

On the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, he said the company witnessed a drop in sales in April 2021 as only 50 per cent of business was done while in May last year it further dropped by 25 per cent.

“However, in June 2021 we could see demand. Again in January, there was introduction of GST which was increased from 5 per cent to 12 per cent for footwear products sold below Rs 1,000. Then, we had the Ukraine-Russia conflict. So, we were forced to increase the price of our products back then,” he said.

In the last three months, the increase in prices began to drop and the company along with other organised players in the market were ‘well-stocked’ to cater to the forthcoming festival demand, Kurian said.

The domestic organised footwear market was valued at Rs 55,000-Rs 60,000 crore, he said.

Source: Press Trust of India

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