Lal Kumar opened a cash and carry in Manchester in 1964 and only began importing clothes after a visit to Hong Kong. Now under the control of Kumar’s sons, Rajan and Sanjay, Rajan Imports has offices in New York, Hong Kong, Dusseldorf and London, and supplies a range of discount retailers with men’s, women’s and children’s fashions. Rajan says that one of the company’s great strengths is the ability to respond quickly to changes in fashions. “When my father first started out, designs rarely changed,” says Rajan. “Now fashion changes every week and we have to be extremely responsive. We send designs out and get the first samples back a week later.” Tight control of overheads, regular sourcing of the most commercial products and turnover growth as clients expand have all helped drive Manchester-based Rajan’s profits up 64% a year, from £2.1m in 1997 to £9m in 2000, on sales of £62.2m.
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