30% footfall at conventional shops as e-tailers break law, make profits: CAIT

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) As e-commerce platforms and online channels raked in the moolah during the seven-day festive sales that began on October 15, offline retailers in India are still struggling to find footfall in the pandemic times, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said on Wednesday.

According to Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT, footfall in retail stores is at mere 30 per cent on average in the country.

“We expect retail sales to rise after Dussehra and before Diwali,” Khandelwal told IANS.

“The e-commerce companies continue to violate laws and the ongoing festive sales with deep discounting is another such violation,” he added.

The CAIT, which represents around seven crore traders and about 40,000 trade associations, said last month that about 25 per cent small shops and businesses, totalling 1.75 crore, across the country were on the verge of closure amid the pandemic.

Noting that the Indian domestic trade consists of more than 7 crore traders providing employment to more than 40 crore people, CAIT said that the banking sector has so far failed to provide formal finance to this sector since only 7 per cent of the small businesses are able to obtain finance from banks and other financial institutions.The rest of the 93 per cent traders are dependent upon informal sources to meet their financial requirements, it said.

The CAIT has called upon the government to roll out the e-commerce policy at the earliest to curb “malpractices” of large e-commerce players in India.

“In coming days, we will again approach the government over the violation of norms by the e-commerce giants, which will also include the festival sales,” Khandelwal told IANS on Wednesday.

“We expect things to sort out once the e-commerce policy is brought in”.

According to Bengaluru-based market research firm RedSeer, $3.1 billion (about Rs 22,000 crore) of goods were sold online from brands and sellers in the first four-and-a-half days of the online festive sale event.

The seven-day festive sale is likely to witness over $4.8 billion (nearly Rs 35,273 crore) in sales.

CAIT said that traders are under financial obligation for payment of central and state government taxes, repayment of monthly installments of loans taken from formal and informal sources, EMIs, water and electricity bills, property tax, payment of interest, payment of wages to the labour and various other payments.

–IANS

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