Bengaluru: The unprecedented turnout of consumers in physical markets leading to a record-breaking figure of 1.25 lakh crore Diwali festival sale across the country has once again established the confidence of the consumers on traders and also the vibrancy of offline trade in India is reiterated, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
It’s also a strong, fittest and credible answer to all those so-called think tanks, economists and retail experts and some sections in government quarters, who were repeatedly saying that gone are the days of offline trade as e-commerce will overtake retail trade in India soon and have put question marks on the relevance of markets in India, he said.
The purchasing pattern of the consumers has greatly prompted the CAIT to demand the government to put an end to the unholy nexus of foreign-funded e-commerce companies, big brands providing exclusivity and banks providing cash back on purchases from online portals. This kind of discriminatory treatment will not be tolerated any further by the traders.
The CAIT has also decided to launch a cleanup operation of retail trade and eCommerce, a strategy which will be decided by trade leaders of all states in an online conference convened by CAIT on November 16, Khandelwal said.
CAIT National President BC Bhartia said that with the revival of business on such a strong note, it is necessary that this energetic spirit of both traders and consumers should be continued to build a robust and growth-oriented retail trade, which has been seen its worst days in the last two years.
The CAIT has decided to take the mettle further and will launch a special drive to upgrade, modernise and computerise the existing format of retail trade under the “Digital India” flagship programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will soon hold talks with both central and state governments.
Bhartia and Khandelwal said that during this Diwali festival, the big brands in FMCG, Consumer Durables, Electronics, Mobiles, foodgrain, toys, gift articles, kitchenware and kitchen equipment, footwear, optical items, Readymade garments and fashion apparel registered a growth of about 15-20 per cent at the level of distributors and retailers, whereas thousands of local brands or emerging brands at state levels grew up to 40 per cent to 45 per cent in terms of sales left a good scope of enhancing their production capacity to boost Atmnirbhar Bharat and Vocal on Local call of PM Modi.
There are few hundred big brands but more than 25 thousand local brands in different verticals of retail trade operating their business activities for a long time and their dealer and retailer network is much larger than branded products and so also the sales turnovers which underline the fact that local brands still dominate with having an impressive share of about 60% of consumer expenditure in the country.
In the light of this fact, the government must have to bring desired changes in its policy and craft out new and incentive-based support policies for retail trade.
Bhartia and Khandelwal further said that items made or produced by small artisans, potters, craftsmen and local small entrepreneurs remained in huge demand and therefore special efforts and steps are needed to bring them into the mainline of retail trade.
This small but important sector has registered a whopping growth of 70% in their business as per an estimate. There is a need to revive the concept of village and cottage industry in the country, they said.
Bhartia and Khandelwal also said that a few important sectors like utensils, wedding and greeting cards, auto spare parts, machinery and a few other verticals of retail could not do well and in spite of a hike in prices in comparison to last year, their sales did not perform well.
“We need to identify such verticals and uphold and engage them to do better in future. The inclusive growth shall be the key factor for spreading the wings of domestic retail trade of India in a most structured way,” they said.
Bharatiya and Khandelwal further said that in view of the tremendous performance of offline trade, a CAIT delegation will soon meet Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and will urge him to roll out National Policy for Retail Trade and to pin an end to highly discriminatory and rules violative malpractices of foreign-funded e-commerce giants, roll out e-commerce rules, e-commerce policy and a new press note in place of press note No. 2 of FDI policy, 2018.