Food and fashion retail might take a year to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown

April 16, 2020 written by

According to top industry associations such as Retailers Association of India (RAI), National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), the fashion, dining out and grocery retail industry will take a year to bounce back from the COVID-19 lockdown.

These associations represent leading fashion and lifestyle firms such as Aditya Birla Fashion and Lifestyle, Arvind Fashions, Future Group, Shoppers Stop, Raymond and Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality. A webinar was organised by Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN) where the three associations speculated a 25-30 per cent impact on business with multiplier effect on subsidiary industries and lasting job losses.

Rahul Mehta, Chief Mentor of CMAI said that the government will support only for 3-4 months and cannot run the business for entrepreneurs for 9-12 months. “I don’t see actual manufacturing to commence before 2-3 months. Most retailers will hesitate to take fresh stocks till festive season. Subsidiary industries, such as zips and tag, will also be adversely affected. Fresh production will probably start in July-August period,” he added.

Sharing his views on the matter, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of RAI said that it may take six months for the larger companies to revive and 12 months for the smaller retailers. “Reworking of congregation areas and queuing at malls are being relooked as safety will be top consumer demand in the recovery stage,” he added.

The pandemic will also severely affect the hospitality sector with job losses and salary cuts. According to Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, people will not step into bars and pubs as they are typically crowded with social distancing becoming the new normal and even discretionary spend will reduce.

Besides that, once the lockdown is over, mass departure of panicky migrant workers could also add to the delay in revival. The three associations have appealed to the government with representations to help the sectors over the three months with money to pay employee salaries and working capital to keep the businesses intact. “In theses hard times, consumers have to become part of the value chain. Once we go into revival stage, PM Modi should urge Indians to come together and celebrate the end of the crises by spending even on discretionary products,” said BS Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN.


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