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Retail Recovery: Weekend curfews hampering retail industry

By Retail4Growth Team | August 26, 2020

For retailers, over 45% of the week’s entire business happens over the weekends. Over 10 states - including Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Nagaland among others - continue to impose weekend lockdowns.

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. However, local authorities in some states continue to impose strict lockdowns on weekends, which are becoming a huge setback in their path to recovery.

According to RAI, weekend curfews and partial lockdowns continue to hurt retail business and dampen consumer sentiment. Over 10 states continue to impose irrational weekend lockdowns. These include Punjab, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Nagaland among others (a full list is given below).

 

Statewise Restrictions (Unlock 3.0)

State

Restrictions

Andaman & Nicobar

Weekend Lockdown

Assam

Weekend Lockdown

Chandigarh

Weekend Lockdown

Haryana

Weekend Lockdown

Jammu & Kashmir

Weekend Lockdown

Jharkhand

Weekend Lockdown

Kerala (Thiruvananthapuram)

Weekend Lockdown

Madhya Pradesh

Weekend Lockdown

Maharashtra

Malls Shut (Thane District)

Nagaland

Weekend Lockdown

Punjab

Weekend Lockdown

Tamil Nadu

Weekend Lockdown

Malls Shut

Uttar Pradesh

Weekend Lockdown

Uttarakhand

Partial Lockdown

West Bengal

Partial Lockdown

Weekend/Partial Lockdown includes the shutting of Essential Shops (including food & grocery), Non-Essential Shops & Warehouses based on orders issued by

states/districts

 

 For retailers, over 45% of the week’s entire business happens over the weekends (Sat- Sun). 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. For Retailers nearly 60%-70% 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. If the weekend business is lost then the hopeful recovery from the festive season will become a distant dream.”

Weekend and partial lockdowns continue despite orders from Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to keep retail open on all days, suggesting a lack of co-ordination between centre and states.

Recent Retail Business Survey by RAI indicated that businesses continued to be impacted with marginal recovery observed in the month of July 2020 (-63% y-o-y) as compared to June 2020 (-67 y-o-y) after witnessing more than - 80% losses in April 2020 (y-o-y). However, categories such as Apparel & Clothing (-69% y-o-y), Sports Goods (-69% y-o- y), and Beauty & Wellness (-65% y-o-y) have also not yet recovered.

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