Indian retail industry continues to struggle due to weekend curfews and partial lockdowns: RAI
New Delhi, Aug 25, (KNN) The Indian retail industry continues to struggle to get back on its feet as many states still impose weekend curfews and partial lockdowns which hurt retail business and dampen consumer sentiment, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said on Tuesday.
Over 10 states continue to impose irrational weekend lockdowns. These include Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Nagaland among others.
''For retailers, over 45 per cent of the week’s entire business happens over the weekends, Saturday and Sunday. After facing losses for over four months due to lockdown, retailers are depending on the weekend business to help recover from the financial stress they have been facing,'' RAI said in a statement.
''However, local authorities in some states continue to impose strict lockdowns on weekends, which are becoming a huge setback in their path to recovery,'' it added.
It is also grossly inconvenient to customers, who after a busy workweek, wait for the weekend to do their shopping, especially in homes where both partners are working, it said.
''Partial closures and keeping shops closed during weekends are detrimental to social distancing as customers have no choice but to throng stores during restricted hours,'' RAI asserted.
In times like this when the business is inelastic, it is crucial to keep stores open on all days and for extended hours. Only this will help retailers crawl back from the financial distress they have been facing and encourage social distancing, RAI said.
Commenting on the impact of the weekend curfews, Kumar Rajagopalan – CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “These are knee jerk reactions that are crippling the sector and gravely affecting the economy. We have urged the Centre and the States Governments to collaboratively work towards supporting the revival of the retail industry.''
''India will always be a consumption Economy, and if retail industry suffers, it will have a rippling effect on the entire value chain which involves manufacturing, entertainment, right down to artisans and other micro-enterprises,'' he added.
For Retailers nearly 60 per cent-70 per cent of costs are fixed costs- rents and salaries to employees make a large part of this cost. This, along with low margins, leaves businesses with limited flexibility that has already started leading to layoffs and downscaling or even shutting down operations widely, Rajagopalan said.
''If the weekend business is lost then the hopeful recovery from the festive season will become a distant dream,” he added.
RAI also claimed that weekend and partial lockdowns continue despite orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to keep retail open on all days, suggesting a lack of coordination between centre and states.
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