Retail slowdown more sentimental than real: Experts

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New Delhi, Nov 9: Retail industry experts have claimed that it is not under threat due to current global financial crisis as the recessionary phase appears to be more sentimental than real, adding it will be over in the next six months.

The country's top retailers hold the view that the slowdown in economy can be tackled by innovative ideas and by giving more value for money to customers.

The players said customers have money, but they are reluctant to spend all because of the negative sentiment prevailing in the market.

Participating in a panel discussion organised by Birla Institute of Management and Technology, Parsvnath Developers Chairman Pradeep Jain said fundamentals of India's economy are very strong, though felt there would be little impact of the global meltdown on the country's economy.

''I hope this recessionary phase will be over in the next three-to-six months' time,'' Mr Jain said.

Welcoming steps taken by Reserve Bank to help financial institutions in a bid to give more liquidity in the market, he lamanted that these institutions are not passing on the solution to actual market players to tide over crunch caused by shortage of cash flow.

Mr Jain urged the government to be more pro-active in evolving programmes for overcoming the current crisis.

''Disbursement of loans and advances by banks and financial institutions should be streamlined. Despite the directives from the government, the fund flows are not adequate,'' he said.

Tommy Hilfiger CEO (India) Shailesh Chaturvedi is of the same view that retail industry has not been affected to the extent it is in the US and Europe by the global meltdown.

Stating that his company has seen a growth of 100 per cent last month, he, however, said the industry has to be cautious. ''Though the slowdown was experienced in the metros, the tier-II cities have recorded robust growth in consumer spending,'' he said, adding, ''we will grow in India''. Mr Gautam Dutta, Chief Executive (Cinemedia), PVR Ltd, said consumers need value for money and ''as long as we can deliver it to them, there is going to be hardly any impact on the industry.'' Mr Dutta said, ''people have money, but they have become very choosy in spending.'' ''Innovative products have to be designed to retain consumer interest in the product to balance out the negative perceptions received rightly or wrongly by the consumers.'' ''It is not the real recession, but a sentimental recession.'' Giving example of the entertainment industry, he said it has done well during the recessionary period.

He added that in difficult times one requires clear cut communication strategies to reach out to the consumers.

Mr Sumit Lal, Director and GM (India), European Lifestyle Brand, said the present crisis have happened mostly because of capital flight triggered by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and retail industry should not panic by drastically cutting down advertisement expenditure.

At last, Akansha Management Group CEO Rajiv Mathur said the country's retail industry's obsession to serve the customer is very low.

''They have to think very big about the product value enhancement at all level,'' he said.

UNI

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