Local lockdowns: Retailers seek nod for stores to open for longer hours

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 20, 2020

According to retailers body, the restricted hours of operations and curbs on movement of staff and goods vehicles have disrupted the supply chains and skewed the buying patterns.   -  The Hindu

Say ad hoc curbs disrupting supply chain, movement of staff

The Retailers Association of India ( RAI) has expressed concerns about ad hoc restrictions being imposed due to local lockdowns in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The association said restrictions imposed by state governments are posing significant operational issues for retailers at a time when the retail sector is already under severe stress.

The restricted hours of operations and curbs on movement of staff and goods vehicles have disrupted the supply chains and skewed the buying patterns, the RAI added. Shops being allowed to open for a fewer number of hours leads to crowding since the demand is inelastic and this leads to breach of social distancing norms, it added. In addition, the industry body has pointed to ad hoc restrictions that keep changing and are resulting in law enforcement agencies stopping goods vehicles and employees from reaching stores.

In a statement, Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India said: “Restricted shopping time can lead to unnecessary overcrowding of stores, which is unfavourable towards the personal safety of both store staff and customers. Longer operational hours will support recovery for retailers as well as help adhering to social distancing norms.”

‘Need concerted efforts’

Kumar Rajagopalan,CEO, RAI, said that the industry body has submitted representations to state and local authorities in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka requesting removal of the timing restrictions that have been imposed in some regions.

“The need of the hour is concerted efforts by all stakeholders. While retailers are doing their bit by following stringent hygiene practices, the policymakers, too, need to support to ensure economic revival across the country. Consumption is important for the country and supports the business environment,” he added.

The association has urged these state governments to mandatorily allow essential shops including kiranas, general trade shops, supermarkets, hypermarkets and wholesalers to operate all days of the week until 9 pm. It has also asked them to ensure uniform and regular opening of all categories of retail for full working hours, while following stringent hygiene practices and adhering to social distancing norms.

Added Arvind Mediratta, MD and CEO, Metro Cash & Carry India: “The decision to close all stores on weekends in Uttar Pradesh and to reinforce a stringent lockdown in Bengaluru is going to severely impact business. These lockdowns will create severe inconvenience for all citizens as they also bar operations of food and grocery retail and wholesale stores.”

Published on July 20, 2020

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