Timex Groups Avirate store in Colombo Sri Lanka

Timex Group's Avirate store in Colombo Sri Lanka

The Timex Group, one of Sri Lanka's leading export apparel manufacturers, has launched one of its own brand labels in the UK through high street department store chain BHS.

The 'A-dress' line is now in its second season and "doing extremely well in the UK," Timex Group managing director Arshad Sattar told a press conference at the company's head quarters in Colombo yesterday (4 September).

He added: "We plan to take it to other BHS stores worldwide as well."

With the successful debut of A-dress, Timex has become the first Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer to introduce an own brand label into a European market.

The company says A-dress is the second half of a two-pronged strategy to penetrate global apparel retail markets.

"We have a two-fold strategy for Timex own brand labels. Avirate for Asia, the Far East and the Middle East, and A-dress for the UK and Europe," Sattar said.

Timex already supplies some of the biggest international brands and specialises in ladies' dresses, and says its expertise will be leveraged to support the transition into own brand retailing globally.

"The garment industry works on cut-make basis, but the Timex approach has been different. We want to have 50% of our items produced in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as our own brand labels, and the balance 50% for buyers from the EU and US," explained Mr Sattar.

Timex introduced its first brand, Avirate, on its home turf in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in 2010. Within a few months the company exported the made-in-Sri Lanka Avirate to Bangalore in India.

By the end of 2012, Timex says it will expand Avirate to 7 outlets across India and into 30 outlets by end of 2013.

"Avirate has done extremely well in India and I feel we could reach an average turnover of US$10m in India annually. In Sri Lanka we are expecting $3-4m sales in financial year 2013," Sattar explained.

The company is also hoping to add to Avirate sales in India and other Asian markets through the Internet.

"Online portals are very big in India and they have very large sales. We have signed up with some of the biggest portals in India," added Avirate CEO, Asim Younoos.

Own brands currently account for less than 5% of company turnover. However, the target is to push own brand revenues to 30% of total turnover, within the next two years, and then to 50%.

The company plans to take Avirate to other Asian countries, such as Hong Kong and Malaysia by the first quarter of 2013.