Uber, Domino's Pizza, Rapido, Zypp, Swiggy, Zomato and Scootsy have all ventured into grocery delivery in partnerships with retail chains such as Big Bazaar, Spencer’s Retail and Nature's Basket, and online grocers BigBasket and Grofers that are grappling with a massive shortage of employees due to flight of several migrant workers to their hometowns.
The ₹4.2 lakh crore restaurant industry, which employs over seven million people, is staring at store closures, job losses, and significant erosion of profits and revenue because of the lockdown and social distancing norms. Force majeure refers to rare and unanticipated events, beyond the control of the concerned party that prevents him from fulfilling a contract.
While different ministries have issued various guidelines to allow transportation of foods in general, these don’t mention specific categories. Hence, district-level authorities have only been allowing movement of essentials such as rice, edible oil, sugar, salt and pulses.
Liquor hops in certain parts are selling through the backdoor only to select customers at a premium since liquor shops are closed throughout the country with the exception of Kerala where Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) is currently being sold. Production and supplies of both liquor and cigarettes have been suspended since the lockdown announcement.
The government last month increased GST on smartphones to 18% from 12% earlier, while in the Budget it increased net import duty by 2% by withdrawing the exemption on social welfare surcharge which was earlier available on the basic custom duty on mobile phones.
The countrywide lockdown has helped neighbourhood grocery stores to make a comeback in metro cities.
While grocery shops are the only ones selling cigarettes since pan-and-cigarette shops remaining closed for the 21 days lockdown, these retailers are selling packs at Rs 5-15 more than their printed price citing limited stock, a senior industry executive said.
Nambiar joins the 650-odd store retail major with over 30 year experience in Hindustan Unilever India and Colgate. He was earlier with Colgate in his last assignment where he was the president for Asia-Pacific region and was also the chairman for Indian operations. He takes over the responsibility from Sumeet Narang who is the founder and managing director at Samara Capital.
The country is under a three-week lockdown starting March 25 and the number of cases infected with the virus is rising steadily. The RBI had announced a moratorium under which borrowers of all the term loans were given a breather from repayments for three months.
The Indian retail sector comprising 70 million small medium and big traders employing 450 million people, does a monthly business of around $70 billion, estimates CAIT. The body said the retail sector is the worst hit.
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