Offline retailers bet on last-minute shoppers for Republic-Day sales

Offline retailers across categories and formats are hoping that last-minute shoppers will boost sales on Republic Day at a time when the overall environment remains weak.


The trend is similar to what retailers had experienced during Diwali last year, when sales picked up during the festival of lights.


Some admit this is the new normal in offline retail, led by e-tailers launching their online festivals around the same time, cannabalising sales.


“This year Amazon and Flipkart came out with Republic Day festivals a week ahead. Despite this, we expect to see a sales growth of around 7-8 per cent this Republic Day over last year,” said Nilesh Gupta, managing director, Vijay Sales, an electronics chain with operations in Mumbai and other cities.


Last year, the spurt in Republic Day sales for offline retailers was to the tune of 10-15 per cent over the previous period, coming just before the overall economic slowdown had set in.


Executives at electronics retailers such as Reliance Digital and Kohinoor said that discounts on products are in the region of 20-25 per cent across categories.


Moreover, attractive cashbacks are available on HDFC and ICICI Bank credit cards as well as finance schemes on mid and high-end purchases from Bajaj Finserv.


“Occasion shopping is important. Republic Day can offer good deals if you know what you are looking for and are keen to loosen your purse strings,” said Eric Braganza, president, Haier Appliances India.


Retailers in fashion, apparels and lifestyle are pushing the pedal even harder, offering more discounts, in the region of 30-35 per cent.


Grocery retailers such as Big Bazaar, Reliance Smart and Reliance Fresh have gone the whole hog to attract shoppers on Republic Day with ads in print, television and outdoor.


Kishore Biyani, chief executive officer (CEO), Future group, said consumers can select from over 65,000 deals in categories such as grocery, home, kitchen, furniture and apparels during its ‘Sabse Saste 5 Din’ initiative that ends on Sunday.


“The response has been good. We will make an assessment of sales once the festival concludes. But it has helped to tie up with Amazon this year,” he said.


Future had tied up with Amazon as an online partner for its Republic Day sales for the first time, making available all deals to online shoppers besides those walking into its stores.


Biyani said this “offline-online” model will be tested further in the coming months. Group sources said spurt in sales from the online-offline partnership has been “significant”.


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