Off­line Re­tail­ers Want Ac­tion if Ecomm FDI Norms are Vi­o­lated

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands -

Mum­bai: In­dia’s brick-and-mor­tar re­tail­ers are lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment to make sure that ecom­merce com­pa­nies fol­low the new mar­ket­place norms, seek­ing fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tions. On Thurs­day, the Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia, along with mem­bers such as Shop­pers Stop, Aditya Birla Re­tail and Fu­ture Group, pe­ti­tioned the gov­ern­ment on tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion if the norms are be­ing dis­re­garded. ET’s Neha Tyagi talked to sev­eral lead­ing re­tail­ers on why they are up­set and even con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion af­ter hav­ing lauded the re­cent pol­icy guide­lines on for­eign in­vest­ment in ecom­merce. Here are the edited ex­cerpts of what they said:

“I don’t want to be diplo­matic at all. I don't think any­one is fol­low­ing these guide­lines cur­rently. I see many of them (ecom­merce play­ers) shut­ting down or chang­ing their mod­els, af­ter the FDI law got en­forced. It's not a battle be­tween on­line and off­line. It is be­tween clar­i­fi­ca­tion and reg­u­la­tion. It’s il­le­gal if an ecom­merce com­pany sends a gift voucher/cash back email af­ter the FDI law is an­nounced. This is a con­tra­ven­tion of the laws of this coun­try, and this has not been a level-play­ing game. “Our only re­quest was to en­sure a level-play­ing field. We are not run­ning away from com­pe­ti­tion.” “We are all clear now what the rules are, but un­less it is im­ple­mented and fol­lowed through it does not mat­ter. One thing we need to un­der­stand is that these are only clar­i­fi­ca­tions. So these are no guide­lines. We are also look­ing to see what the gov­ern­ment will be do­ing re­gard­ing the past be­cause there has been clear vi­o­la­tion of the law of the coun­try.”

“Preda­tory pric­ing has eroded the value chain com­pletely. The fact that peo­ple en­ter the store, look at the price and quickly leave be­cause it is avail­able at less at an on­line store is not fair.” “We by def­i­ni­tion are a multi­brand re­tailer. But go ask Flip­kart and Ama­zon. They won’t be able to de­fine them­selves at all. We fol­low all the rules. Please ask them if they fol­low rules or not. I’m sure they won't be able to an­swer.” “It’s wrong that in­vestors come in In­dia and break the law, think­ing that the gov­ern­ment won’t take any ac­tion. Let the mar­ket­places be! But they should not com­pete with re­tail­ers and play their role. It’s been 14 days (since the gov­ern­ment re­leased the guide­lines), but there has been no pro­ceed­ings.”

“While there have been clar­i­fi­ca­tions that the mar­ket place model is le­gal, the ques­tion is about its im­ple­men­ta­tion and its ex­e­cu­tion. Are the le­gal­i­ties be­ing fol­lowed?”

THINK­STOCK

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