Retailers to rise & shine

Written by Vaishnavi Bala | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 21 2013, 04:57am hrs
RetailersRetailers are hoping that pent-up demand over the last few months will lead to higher number of transactions. Reuters
After months of sluggish demand, the festival season may just light up retail sales. Retailers are hoping that pent-up demand over the last few months will lead to higher number of transactions. Apparel retailers, in particular, are hoping for a better run-in this time around as consumers are postponing their bigger purchases and going in for small-ticket items.

Future Group chief executive officer Kishore Biyani said, We are expecting a double-digit growth in festival season sales this year as consumers have been postponing their purchases over the last few months. Plus, with the offers that our formats would be running, we are hoping that consumers would be eager to make purchases.

Last year, sales were muted during the festival season, though apparel companies fared slightly better. Retailers witnessed a huge drop in sales in the months leading to the festival season.

Yes, the sentiment is poor compared to that of last year. There was no negativity in consumer sentiment then, Titan global marketing and product head Rajan Amba said.

So, going with the flow, we are being vigorous with our launches this time and have a robust plan. We are launching 180 watch variants this time, higher than the previous years. A 40% increase in sales over last year would be too ambitious, but we can do a 6-12% increase in sales during the season this time around.

The festival season this year began with Onam in Kerala and Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra, further leading to Navaratri, Durga Puja and Dussehra, in October.

They will be followed by Diwali in November and Christmas in December.

We are hoping for a sales growth in double digits and expect it to be higher compared to last year. We are expecting higher demand for apparel and accessories as consumers postpone their bigger purchases. We have seen good sales during Onam. Even last year, the sales had picked up from the third quarter, before which sales were tepid, Shoppers Stop managing director Govind Shirkhande said.

About 60% of our transactions take place through credit cards. So, we do not expect our consumers to cut back. Plus, we have special festive offers and tie-ups with HDFC Bank for rewards, cash-back offers, etc. We are expecting a substantial growth over the last years festive season, said Ajit Joshi, chief executive of Tatas Croma chain of electronics stores.

I would not yet write off the festive season. We are working on special offers, discounts and exchange promotions for the festive period. There will be some fall in the number of transactions, but that would be less than 15% due to the governments clampdown on the 0% interest EMI schemes. But after the initial reluctance, we are hoping that sales will pick up, said Rajan Malhotra, president, retail strategy of Future Group.

Kamal Nandi, executive vice-president, sales & marketing, Godrej Appliances, said, We are targeting a growth of 20% and a sales turnover of R700 crore this season. The festive season contributes to a significant size of business in the durables and appliances industry. We have seen that many consumers postpone their purchases to Diwali in anticipation of good offers. We are also focusing on providing great consumer shopping experiences through online and on-ground activities.

Videocon witnessed a positive response from the market as the festive season set in, garnering a growth of 15% over the last year during the Onam season in Kerala, whereas Ganesh Chaturthi witnessed a growth of 20% in Maharashtra. Videocon is aiming at a double-digit growth by launching attractive consumer schemes and launching new products, said Anirudh Dhoot, the director of Videocon.

Tara Jewellers has initiated a pre-Diwali scheme for customers, where buying gold and diamonds has been made as easy as four instalments this festive season.