- Revenues of the footwear entities are expected to report healthy growth of ~14-15% in FY2023, with reversion to pre-Covid levels already witnessed in Q1 FY2023
- The financial position of large, listed entities is expected to remain strong with healthy on-balance sheet liquidity and low financial leverage
Following two years of lacklustre performance, the domestic footwear industry seems to be on the mend and is anticipated to surpass its pre-pandemic revenue levels in FY2023. In a recent note on the domestic footwear industry, the entities in ICRA’s sample set are projected to achieve a YoY revenue growth of 14-15% in FY2023, equating to a sales growth of around 10% over the pre-Covid levels. As a result of anticipated volume growth, the operating margin (OPM) of footwear companies is anticipated to increase by 200-300 bps in FY2023.
Elaborating on the industry performance, Gaurav Singla, Assistant Vice President, ICRA said: “Driven by increased footfalls and uptick in discretionary spends, the demand for footwear is expected to remain healthy, especially in the offline retail route during the upcoming festival and wedding seasons. While the recovery had been derailed slightly in Q4 FY2022 owing to the third wave, the sector bounced back since March 2022. In addition to the formal footwear segments, the growing athleisure segment further supports revenue growth. Moreover, increasing omni channel presence has also added to the sales volumes.”
While cost rationalisation was the focus area in FY2021 and companies saved on employee and other expenses, including rental concessions and advertisement expenses, a large portion of such costs was back to pre-Covid levels in FY2022. Although these costs are expected to increase further in the current fiscal, the profitability of these players would witness an improvement because of healthy volume growth. In addition, the raw material prices have started moderating in recent months, which, if sustained, would also support the profitability of footwear players in FY2023. The export of footwear has also improved in FY2022 and H1 FY2023 (estimated), with the US, the UK and Germany emerging as the major export destinations. However, with approximately 1% share of the global trade, India remains a marginal player.
The impact of the increase in GST rate from 5% to 12%, in the category of an MRP of under Rs 1,000 largely varied based on the portfolio mix and the stock levels maintained by the companies. As per the quarterly performance of the major players, the higher rates were passed on to the end customers and the impact on the margins remained minimal. However, a few players had witnessed somewhat weaker demand due to a high price elasticity at the lower end of the spectrum.
Commenting on the credit profile of the entities, Priyesh Ruparelia, Vice President and Co-Group Head, Corporate Ratings, said: “The financial position of the large, listed entities is expected to remain strong with healthy on-balance sheet liquidity and low financial leverage. The companies are aggressively expanding in Tier 3 towns and rural areas through the franchisee route, thus limiting their own capex requirements.
“With healthy profits and low leverage, the credit metrics of the industry are expected to remain strong with interest coverage and Total Debt/OPBDITA of 8.1x and 1.4x respectively in FY2023 compared to 6.8x and 1.7x respectively in FY2022, which are likely to improve further in FY2024. Going forward, the sustainability of demand momentum along with the trend in raw material prices will be the key monitorables,” Ruparelia reiterated.