Residents drop their order lists and Spencer’s delivers the next day. Online grocer Grofers has started servicing residential societies in Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru with a limited number of essential products. Cash and carry operators Metro and Walmart India, too, have either piloted or are planning bulk supplies to RWAs.
Residents say such bulk deliveries by retailers are helping them at a time when the country is undergoing a 21-day lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
While notifications from the Centre are clear, the interpretation is different in each state.
“We aren’t trying to profiteer at the expense of landlords. As longstanding business partners, we are hopeful that landlords will extend their support in these times of unprecedented crisis,” NRAI president Anurag Katriar said.
Two industry executives said union commerce minister Piyush Goyal had told all leading retail chains and e-commerce firms on Thursday’s video-conferencing meeting that they have to motivate their workforce to work so that consumers are not inconvenienced. Goyal has also apparently said that the companies cannot call back the labour that has gone back to their native places.
Trucks carrying essential supplies that had been stuck at state borders for days also began moving. Retailers and consumer companies said matters began improving after meetings with police and local authorities in many states. Not everyone is convinced the situation is better.
Amazon, Flipkart suspend pickups; offline retailers say warehouse closures by authorities hurting supplies.
Given the scenario, brands such as Gap, Hummel, Adidas, Aeropostale and Asics, among others, are giving discounts of 30-60% on various products.
While ecommerce sales of essentials like foodstuff and personal care items surged amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus, those of fashion and lifestyle goods are taking a beating as fashion brands from jeans to shoes are reporting a 10-20% drop in online sales in the last two weeks.
On Tuesday, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), which represents 500,000-plus restaurants, had advised its restaurant members to shut down dine-in operations till the end of March. Gurgaon has also enforced restrictions on public gathering of any social, religious, academic and sporting activities at 50 people in March.
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