Hire, expand: Businesses prepare for Covid-free curbside carnival sales

NEW DELHI: Indian companies are hiring thousands of temporary workers, expanding into smaller cities and launching new products as the country prepares to celebrate its peak festive season with no restrictions of Covid for the first time in three years.
Many people in the country of 1.4 billion people decorate their homes and buy new clothes, cars, phones and other goods around the Durga Puja and Diwali festivals from September to November. Amazon e-commerce and Walmart’s Flipkart have announced deep discounts.
Confederation of Indian Traders (CAIT), says its 80 million SME members generate more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, forecasting higher sales this Diwali season at least 30% compared to last year.
“Consumer sentiment is very upbeat after two years of restrictions,” said CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal, who traveled to various parts of the country this month to urge merchants to stock up and ensure they have plenty of variety. products to compete with online. player.
He said demand for CAIT members has returned to more than 90% of pre-Covid levels.
While India’s annual retail inflation trended downward for three months to accelerate to 7% in August, Khandelwal says the trick is to provide customers with options that fit their budgets, which he held sessions around the country for the businesses he represented.
Ecom Express, which distributes products on behalf of e-commerce companies, says it has doubled its parcel handling capacity to 6 million units per day and expects volumes to grow. 65% during the festive season, with most of the growth coming from smaller cities.
Smartr Logistics, which started operations a year ago, says it is expanding into a dozen mostly smaller cities, in addition to adding new hubs in many other major cities like New Delhi, where it was present. It says demand is growing during the festival period and its goal is to connect smaller cities.
Smartr founder, Yogesh Dhingra, said: “We aim to increase connectivity outside of major cities to bring better accessibility and ease of doing business for small and medium-sized businesses in the regions. secondary and tertiary cities,” said Smartr founder Yogesh Dhingra.
Online delivery platform Dunzo, which is backed by energy retail group Reliance Industries, said August was a busy month due to many festivals and demand during the general Diwali season usually increases by as much as 30%.
“We planned our inventory in such a way that we stocked the assortment based on the festivals held in each city,” said Dunzo CEO Mrunmayi Oke.
Logistics operator Delhivery Ltd said late last month it would create more than 75,000 seasonal jobs around September to cater for “significantly higher freight volumes during the festive season”.
Automakers such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki have all launched new models recently or are planning to do so soon.
Industry body Association of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said earlier this month that while good monsoons and the upcoming festive season are likely to boost demand, high fuel prices are a cause for concern. .

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