Festive season boosts retail sales

The Indian consumer did not disappoint. Early trends indicate they shopped with full vigour this Diwali. Everyone from hawkers on the streets to luxury brands on the high streets had pinned their hopes on the festive season this year, and from what retailers say, they are all heaving a sigh of relief. While mobile phones flew off the shelves, car sales remained brisk. However, refrigerators and washing machines sales were down.

“Diwali sales were as good as last year. The theory that people prefer discount models in a downturn economy got validated. The beginning to the season was sluggish and we were nervous. However, last Friday (November 1) sales were way above expectations,” Raghunath Narayanan, MD of Europa Group, a clothing discount chains, said. “While exact sales numbers are still being collated, we have witnessed single-digit growth in Diwali sales. Per bill value of each customer was slightly lower than last year, but more shoppers compensated for that drop and ensured growth. In this market, not to have de-grown itself is an achievement,” he said.

Several automakers who expected muted sales this season were in for a surprise. “Early numbers show that sales grew 10% during Diwali. Our daily shipments, which were 9,800 vehicles a day last Diwali, rose to 15,800 this year,” said Mayank Pareek COO, marketing & sales, Maruti Suzuki. “What we saw this year was a result of pent-up demand. Customers, who postponed purchases, chose Diwali to complete the purchase. However, for the past five or six years, Diwali sales were sluggish. We need to wait and see if this momentum in sales will sustain,” he said.

Source: The Times of India

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