E-tail­ers, retailers see fes­tive boost

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - [email protected]

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.

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