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Trades protest as online stores eat into pre-Diwali traditional sales, Retail News, ET Retail

Trades protest as online stores eat into pre-Diwali traditional sales Noida: With traditional sales dipping significantly in the pre-Diwali season this year due to massive online festive discounts, shopkeepers and traders on Monday staged a protest in the district against “the unethical business practices of e-commerce companies”.

The Delhi-NCR chapter of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said they would now demand protection of traditional retailers from the Union government.

“The weekend before Diwali is a good marker of how sales are going to be this year, but both Saturday and Sunday turned out to be gloomy. Walk-in customers are few. There is no interest among customers to shop even for clothes or white goods. Until last year, Sector 18 market on a daily basis witnessed about 40,000–50,000 footfall a week before Diwali. This year, it has gone just half,” Sushil Kumar Jain, convenor of CAIT (Delhi-NCR), told TOI.

According to traders, there is a decline of 50-60% overall in traditional brick and mortar retail. “Every year from the first day of Navratri to December 14, its high sales for us. But this year, FMCG sales have reduced by 35%, garment sales by 25%, gift items by 35%, furnishing goods by 25%, decorative items by 25%, building hardware by 15%, kitchen equipment by 30%, computer goods by 30%, grocery by 35%, fashion clothing by 40% and toys by 30%. People have not only shifted online, but there is also a marked lack of liquidity and dispensable income among people to spend,” Jain added.

The retailers claimed that the young generation has shifted to online shopping. “Online sales by Amazon and Flipkart have consumed the Diwali spending budget. People are finding it convenient to shop from their phones. Nobody wants to drive down to a shop,” Navdeep Thareja, a giftshop owner in Sector 18, said.

The surprise factor was also present at the whitegoods stores this weekend. “Usually, people buy equipment and other electronic goods around this time. During the weekend, we haven’t sold much,” Rahul Gupta, an electrical goods store owner, said.

The malls claimed to be doing a brisk business in prominent brands and ethnic wear. Manish Mehrotra, VP, DLF Mall of India, said, “We have witnessed growth in the first half of the festive season and are optimistic about the second half as the footfall in our mall have been picking up.”

On Monday, UP Yuva Vyapar Mandal members protested at Barola in Sector 49. “We marked our protest against the onslaught of e-commerce on local businesses. Just like Ravan has 10 heads and symbolic of multidimensional demon effect, these online businesses are eating into the traditional businesses from all corners,” said Vikas Jain, president, UPUVM.

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