Covid-19 Lockdown: Retailers Expect Around 80,000 Job Losses, Says Survey
Shoppers walk past a local grocery store in the Kalahati market area in Siliguri, West Bengal, India. Photographer: Sanjit Das/BloombergKeywords  

Covid-19 Lockdown: Retailers Expect Around 80,000 Job Losses, Says Survey

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Around 80,000 jobs expected to be cut by various retailers due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by Retailers Association of India.

Industry body RAI had conducted a survey of 768 retailers, which employ 3,92,963 people across India, to gauge their view on the impact of Covid-19 on their business and manpower.

Small retailers are expecting to layoff 30 percent of their manpower going forward, this number falls to 12 percent for medium (sized) retailers and 5 percent for large retailers. On the whole, retailers who responded to the survey expect layoff of about 20 percent of their manpower.
Retailers Association of India

The expectation of retrenchment of 20 percent of employees by those featured in the survey amounts to 78,592 people.

According to the industry body, small retailers featured in the survey employ less than 100 persons and accounted for 65 percent of the respondents. Medium retailers have 1,001,000 employees making up for 24 percent of respondents, while large retailers employ over 1,000 people and accounted for 11 percent of the respondents.

Also read: India Unemployment Rate Spiked To 23% Post Lockdown, Says CMIE

Ever since the lockdown was imposed on March 25, more than 95 percent of non-food retailers have closed their outlets and are looking at practically no revenues during the period and they expect to earn only about 40 percent of last year's revenue in the next six months, the survey said.

As for food retailers, in the next six months they expect to earn 56 percent as compared to last year's revenues. With most of food retailers also selling non-essential goods in the same or different stores. The non-food business in the stores has come to a standstill during the lockdown, leading to revenue loss, it added.

On the business outlook, 70 percent of retailers expect business recovery to happen in more than six months, while 20 percent expect it to take more than a year.

On expectations from the government, RAI said two out of three retailers employing substantial workforce want employee salary and rent support to manage their fixed costs and limit manpower downsizing.

"Without this support the retailers are looking at around 20 percent manpower reduction due to Covid-19," it added.

RAI further said two out of five retailers want concessions and relief on GST, taxes and loans to ensure business continuity in the face of the revenue downfalls and heavy losses for 2020-21.

The retailers are requesting for additional 60 days for payment of electricity charges and waiver of minimum demand charge for the same period with one out of ten retailers considering this as a key ask from the government to manage finances in this period of uncertainty, RAI said.

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