Cost of raw silk has increased from Rs. 2,800 a kg last year to Rs. 4,500 a kg, this season

Silk saris with pure zari may not fit into the festival season budget of many consumers this year as the silk and zari prices have shot up.

In an effort to meet the consumer demand, retailers are offering a wide variety such as light weight, trendy, soft silk or blends. The raw silk and cocoon prices have shot up during the last one year. The cost of raw silk, which was Rs. 2,800 a kg last year is now Rs. 4,500 a kg.

Since India imports large quantities of silk, depreciation of rupee against the dollar has only increased the silk prices. Further, the spiralling gold and silver prices have resulted in high zari prices. Hence, some retailers have reduced the pure silk sari stocks with them while some of the larger outlets are focusing more on the pure silk segment.

Several outlets are offering varieties such as kora (blend of cotton and silk), saris with artificial zari, and soft silk saris. The market has developed. Very few buy pure silk with zari now. Consumers buy these only for special occasions, says an official of the Co-optex. Some of the weaver societies have also increased production of blended fabric. It may be a difficult year because of the slowdown and high prices, says a weaver at Sirumugai.

G. Jayankanthan, secretary of Vadavalli Sarvodaya Sangh, says that cocoon prices have crossed Rs. 400 a kg. The Sangh has handlooms here to make silk saris and it uses only the locally produced silk. It does not make blended saris or saris with imported silk.

“We are hopping for a revival. Even with discounts and credit period, consumers who were buying four saris now buy only two. We are reducing the stocks. In some areas, 40 per cent to 50 per cent discount is offered on stocks that are sold,” he says.