Desperate times call for desperate measures, the pandemic is forcing Indian retailers to reshape their business operations and become more agile and build capacities. The Economic Times CEO Breakfast presented by Accenture India and emphasized on several such learnings from the pandemic.
Omnichannel to be the way forward
The discussion opened with Anurag Gupta, Accenture emphasizing on the importance of building more agility, resilience and capability into India’s retail businesses. Amit Jain, L’Oréal India highlighted the growing preference for brands with a purpose. He also underlined the significance of additional retail channels such as, kerbside deliveries, social commerce, etc.
Lalit Agarwal, V-Mart Retail explained his company’s efforts to maintain balance sheet and inventory levels during the pandemic. He said, though customers in smaller cities had the money to make purchases during the pandemic, they were reluctant to do so due to their fear of catching the virus. Abhishek Ganguly, Puma India and Southeast Asia, said though Indian retailers were hit the hardest in the first quarter of 2020, they made a successful comeback in the third and fourth quarters.
Saving for the rainy day
Shital Mehta, Lifestyle International warned retailers though other formats like Max had crossed their pre-COVID sales, malls are still not performing at the required levels. Shailesh Chaturvedi, Arvind Fashions therefore urged retailers to focus on casual clothing as wedding wear and formal wear are likely to take some time to pick up.
The discussion ended with Vineet R Ahuja, Accenture India advising retailers to conserve cash and staying healthy. He said, this would give them a competitive advantage and help sustain over time.