Leading retailers have witnessed an increase in number of footfalls along with a significant jump in average purchase value in the third phase of the lockdown.
According to industry players such as Metro Cash & Carry, Lots Wholesale Solutions, Future Group and V-Mart Retail, as restrictions were eased more stores could open thereby increasing customer walk-ins, availability of popular FMCG products and high-value items.
Some of the items that saw increased demand in the third phase of lockdown include dry fruits, frozen non-vegetarian products, personal care products – grooming, cold beverages and premium products.
Supply of these products was disrupted in the previous two phases of the lockdown imposed from March 25 to control the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
“The footfalls have gone up by a third over the previous lockdown as restrictions are getting eased especially in Karnataka, Delhi and Telangana,” Metro Cash & Carry India MD & CEO Arvind Mediratta told PTI.
He said there are several factors which impact store walk- ins, operational timings of the store along-with other factors in that particular city that play a role in store footfalls.
Expressing similar views, Lots Wholesale Solutions Managing Director Tanit Chearavanont said as restrictions on movement are being eased, the number of footfalls is increasing in stores along with average purchase value.
“With every passing day and government providing some ease in movement, we have witnessed increased footfall at our stores largely from local kiranas and retailers during the lockdown and overall the average purchase value per customer has gone up,” he said.
Value fashion and lifestyle products retailer V-Mart Retail said the number of its operational stores pan-India has gone up, so also the number of customers.
“Earlier, one store has an average visit of around 40-50 customers which now has gone up to 130 to 150 per day. The basket size has also increased as people still have some tendency to hoard,” said V-Mart Retail Chairman and MD Lalit Agarwal.
According to him, in May and June, some marriages were scheduled. As restrictions were eased, low profile marriage happened in limited small groups and people have done some shoppings, which has turned the situation favourable.
According to Mediratta, in the third phase availability of popular brands has increased and customers are returning back to them again preferring over the local and private labels.
“A major trend that we witnessed in the second phase was that customers were ready to switch to local brands in the same product category. If their favourite brands were not available, they were happy to transition to a private label brand,” he said’
“With the government easing out manufacturing and measures taken to open the economy, consumers have started to pick up brands again with availability improving and are demanding value added categories.”
Future Group President Food & FMCG Kamaldeep Singh said that though the situation is still not close to normal but average purchase by a customer has gone up.
“Number of footfalls and shopping trips are still down but the average value of the bill is higher due to lesser number of visits by a customer,” he said adding “customers are largely picking staples, food items and personal hygiene products”.
However, Singh also added that customers have still not started picking personal care products like deodorant, skin care, vanity and beauty products.
Walmart India, which operates Best Price cash & carry stores, witnessed a spike on demand of staples and hygiene products and expects a pent-up demand in the non-essential categories, which was opened in the third phase of the lockdown.
“With non-essential categories opening up, we expect some pent up demand in small kitchen and home appliances like irons, kettles, pressure cookers, and fans,” said Anuj Singh, Chief Merchandising Officer, Best Price Walmart India.
In the coming days retailers are hoping for a further easing of restriction as they continue to face some supply constraints as most of FMCG companies are not operating in full swing.
“We expect the government to ease restrictions in all the zones. The situation should normalise, and the demand & supply should become more consistent,” said Chearavanont.
While Mediratta has suggested, the state authorities to work in unison with the central government so there is seamless functioning of businesses across sectors.
“The list of essential items should be further extended and all stores should be allowed to operate without any restrictions on timings,” he added.
India is presently going through an unprecedented lockdown from March 25 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus with the third phase ending on Sunday.