E-tailers, retailers see festive boost
New Delhi: E-commerce players, retailers and wholesalers are witnessing a robust pick-up in demand for the upcoming festival season and a majority of them are gearing up to meet the rush.
The upbeat mood among retailers and wholesalers comes against the backdrop of a slowdown in the economy, which could hold back consumers from splurging in the festive season. The string of reform measures unveiled by the government may have helped in changing the mood for now. A majority of retailers and e-commerce players said most of them had done good business during the southern Indian harvest festival Onam. With Durga Puja — celebrated in several states across the country — round the corner, sales have picked up in eastern regions as well. Small towns across the country are also expecting buoyant consumer sentiment to persist during Dussehra and Diwali.
“There might be a bit of slowdown in some industries and markets, but we are not seeing any real signs of it. We are looking forward to a good festive season. Pujo growth has been good so far. We plan to open around 60 new stores by the end of this financial year,” said Samir Misra, COO of VMart Retail, which operates a chain of stores in small cities and towns.
Online marketplace Flipkart, which is owned by US retail giant Walmart, said it was adding 50,000 direct jobs with a 30% increase in indirect jobs ahead of the festive season. “With new employment opportunities across geographies and the prospect of scaling the sellers’ businesses, we aim to stimulate local industries and foster the creation of a robust economy,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO at Flipkart. The company has added jobs across its supply chain, logistics arm and customer support.
Swedish retailer H&M, too, has new stores on the cards. “We haven’t factored in a slowdown in our India strategy. We are witnessing robust same-store sales growth,” Fredrik Olsson, MD of H&M Brand, told TOI.
Most retailers, from Future Group to Tata Trent, are witnessing good numbers. While a senior executive from Future Group said few categories such as home have witnessed slow growth, a senior executive from Tata Trent said lack of discounts on online marketplaces has helped offline retailers. “The effect of an alleged slowdown, if there is any at all, will be felt in November. But with most festivities set to end in October, the blip may be just marginal,” said the Tata Trent executive.
German sportswear retailer Puma is seeing high samestore sales growth. Walmart is also enjoying strong demand for its B2B business and suppliers from small and medium enterprises are helping stock up the festival range.