New Delhi: The Retailers Association of India (RAI) said Monday all essential shops, including kiranas, general trade shops and supermarkets, must be allowed to operate till 9.00pm every day. It said that ‘local lockdowns and ad-hoc restrictions’ in many states are having a distressing impact on retail businesses.
Total lockdowns in some places and limited operational in others are creating setbacks for retailers, RAI said. It added that such moves has already stressed retail businesses and dampening consumer sentiment.
Citing instances of ‘local lockdowns and ad-hoc restrictions being imposed in UP, Maharashtra, AP and Karnataka’, the retailers body said such developments are ‘making a distressing impact on retail businesses’. Retailers are already facing huge setbacks in terms of payment of wages and rentals due to very low sales of about 40 per cent as compared to last year due to the extended lockdown, the RAI said in a statement.
RAI said the restrictions imposed by several state governments are compounding the situation. It is posing significant operational issues as restricted hours of operations, stoppage of staff and goods vehicle have resulted in hindered supply chains and skewed buying patterns.
“Shops are being allowed to open for minimal number of hours. It is leading to crowding because demand is inelastic. This is detrimental to social distancing. It is also creating havoc on the supply side affecting availability of goods,” the RAI said in a statement.
RAI said it has submitted representations to various state and local authorities putting forth recommendations. The recommendations are to get businesses and life of consumers on the track to recovery. ItThey include ‘mandatorily allowing essential shops including kiranas, general trade shops, supermarkets, hypermarkets and wholesalers to operate every day of the week until 9.00pm to cater to the daily needs of the customers’.
The RAI has also sought ensuring uniform and regular opening of all categories of retail for full working hours while following stringent hygiene practices and adhering to social distancing norms.
“This will help avoid overcrowding outside stores as demand will get distributed over all days of the week,” the retailers’ body said.
RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said the association has submitted representations to state and local authorities in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka seeking removal of timing restrictions that have been imposed in some regions derailing smooth operations.