A strategy of aggressively pushing for higher market share in selected product categories enabled Sri Lanka's Brandix Group to achieve healthy growth in the first half of 2009, the company has revealed.

Speaking to supply chain partners at a recent Vendor Summit in Colombo, the apparel exporter said that by directing more business to preferred suppliers it had managed to offset contracting inventories, lower average unit costs, and a US$17bn drop in global retail sales last year.

"In our quest to push beyond the limits we will have to challenge every paradigm that exists today," explained Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar.

He believes continued growth will be possible by re-engineering vendor cost structures, focusing on 'trend-right fashion' and reducing concept-to-store lead times.

Also key are flexibility on speed and pricing, commitment to on-time delivery and quality, and a focus on sustainability initiatives, he said.

Crashing prices are one of the biggest challenges facing the industry right now, noted Brandix director Udena Wickremesooriya.

He pointed out that prices across all categories from men's underwear to lounge wear and woven pants to bras, lounge have fallen by 10% to 27% over the past year or two.

"Buyers continue to pressure manufacturers to reduce prices," Mr Wickremesooriya said.

Brandix, which specialises in casual bottoms, intimate and active wear, textiles and knitted fabrics, includes Gap, Marks & Spencer, Victoria's Secret, Next and Lands' End among its customers.

More than 150 supply chain partners and 30 foreign visitors participated at the Brandix Vendor Summit, themed 'Beyond the Limits'.