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Offline retailers celebrate as consumers return to shop this Diwali

By FashionUnited


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Retailers across the board have reasons to cheer this festive season. While ecommerce platforms are doing brisk business with lucrative deals, heavy discounts, malls and high streets in and around metros are seeing an increase in footfalls. Shoppers are splurging this festive season, bringing buoyant mood

back at the offline retail stores.

Online platforms not only faced heavy criticism from brands and offline retailers alike for offering steep discounts online, they also discouraged consumers by not delivering orders. No wonder, supermarkets and brands are now optimistic as they are experiencing a much better Diwali shopping season when traditionally the

biggest chunk of their annual sales takes place. Experts attribute the rise in sales to upbeat consumer sentiment.

Offline retail gets a thumping boost

Fabindia, known for its traditional clothing, home and other collections is witnessing some serious shopping at their stores. The retail chain has seen a 31 percent year-on-year jump in its sales so far this Diwali season. Even Big Bazaar outlet in Delhi, part of the Future Group saw weekend prior to the festive week to be the highest shopping day for them. Alok Dubey, CEO of Arvind Lifestyle Brands, which sells US Polo, Nautica, Arrow etc, said closer to festive dates, the chances of online retailers delivering on-time are slim and, hence, offline retailers see more action. Arvind itself has seen a 15 percent jump in its pre-Diwali sales this year as well as last year. DLF Brands, which retails brands like Mothercare and Forever 21 in India, is experiencing a like-to-like growth of 25-30 percent across its brands. Like-to-like growth is the increase in sales from the same store in comparative quarters. “The range across our brands is large, which helped us post good sales,” explains Dipak Agarwal, CEO of DLF Brands. “Even today, 90 percent of apparel sales happen offline. Only those branded segments where people can compare and find huge price difference, do they buy,” opines Prashant Agarwal, Joint MD, Wazir Advisors. Dubey points out that both south and West regions were 30 percent above target and North is 10 percent below target as winter is yet to set in.

Favourable consumer sentiment

After witnessing a lull for past couple of years, followed by boom in e-commerce, the offline retail segment is seeing consumers respond positively. While competition has increased manifold with the entry of several online players, after last year's Diwali, the physical retailers are witnessing good demand since last week.

Garment retailers such as Pantaloons Fashion and Arvind Lifestyle Brands are experiencing positive Diwali sales despite a delayed start. While the earlier a month-long festive buying phenomenon is shrinking every year, industry experts say that less number of shopping days does not necessarily mean lower sales. Pantaloons Fashion witnessed late start to Diwali shopping this year, its like-to-like sales growth has increased 10 percent as expected by the retailer. The growth was also much higher at over 30 percent on Saturday indicating positive days leading to Diwali.

Though earlier, people went shopping whenever they found time, the trend now shows, people thronging to malls and stores on weekends. So while these stores don a near-deserted look during week days, weekends are attracting hordes of customers.

Big Bazaar
DLF Brands
Pantaloons Fashion