Retailers, traders upset with Maharashtra closure

Brick-and-mortar retailer chains and small shops mentioned the newest Covid restrictions in Maharashtra will severely influence the retail trade resulting in liquidity challenges and job losses.

Apex trade physique, Retailers Association of India (RAI) mentioned full shutting of retail companies aside from necessities will impair the flexibility of retail and allied companies to outlive. The physique calls it a “Retail lockdown” since solely shops important items can be allowed to function until April finish.

“While the situation in the state looks grim and implementation of stricter rules is necessary, it is also important to calibrate a balance between lives and livelihood…Retail businesses of non-essential goods are feeling discriminated for being pressed by restrictions and lockdowns without any respite from the government,” RAI mentioned in a press launch.

RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan mentioned the retail trade will once more begin experiencing extreme liquidity challenges within the State, whereas the fastened working prices remained intact.

“It is expected that the retailers pay electricity bills, property taxes, among others in spite of being shut. The new order will have a contagion effect on the entire retail ecosystem in the state and across the country majorly impacting manufacturing and employment of millions,” he mentioned.

Leading electronics retailer Vijay Sales director Nilesh Gupta mentioned whereas it seems that all the April gross sales is misplaced for now, we hope the federal government supplies some leisure after monitoring the state of affairs for just a few days. “There are big festivals like Gudi Padwa which creates a sales spike which will be lost this year too,” he mentioned.

Traders physique, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) mentioned there are about 25 lakh traders in Maharashtra who can be worst hit. CAIT secretary normal Praveen Khandelwal mentioned that after Maharashtra, different states who’re affected by rising coronavirus might observe the identical mannequin.

CAIT has written a letter to Maharashtra authorities suggesting that as a substitute of full lockdown, the store timings must be diminished from 11 am to five pm and in cooperation with commerce associations further efforts could also be deliberate to take care of Covid security protocols in any respect ranges.

RAI mentioned there’s a sense of discrimination that’s prevailing as on-line retail for non-essentials items are being permitted to function, whereas bodily retail is just not. It mentioned whereas the manufacturing sector is permitted to function within the state throughout this time, they are going to be unable to get orders since retail is shut.

“While the government order mentioned that the stores cannot be opened until all employees get vaccinated, there has been no recognition of retail employees as frontline workers or prioritising their inoculation. Nearly 90% of frontline retail workforce is less than the age of 45 years,” mentioned RAI, including that it has appealed to the Centre to prioritise vaccination of frontline retail workers.

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