• Retailers hail 24×7 operations as ‘new beginning’

    Retailers today welcomed the government’s decision to allow shops, malls and cinema halls to run round-the-clock, saying it will lead to a new level of retailing in the country.

    The move will also add ‘thousands’ of additional skilled jobs, besides providing flexibility and convenience to customers, they said.

    The Cabinet’s decision to clear the Model Shops and Establishment Bill will bring parity in laws across India, the retailers said, but added its success will depend on states adopting it.

    “This will definitely help in improving efficiency and a new level of retail can open up. I will call it the end of permission raj,” Shoppers Stop Managing Director and Customer Care Associate, Govind Shrikhande told PTI.

    He said the policy will bring clarity in regulations across India and will also take away hassles of seeking permissions.

    Expressing similar views, Walmart India president and CEO Krish Iyer said, “It is a welcome step and we hope all the states will adopt it.”

    With flexibility available to retailers to open their establishment 24×7, not only will it add thousands of skilled jobs but will also make the retail markets across the country more vibrant, giving customers flexibility and convenience to shop anytime, he added.

    Iyer further said 24×7 policy for retail stores in other developed economies has given significant boost to their growth in the past. A vibrant retail environment is critical to the economic growth.

    Retailers Association of India CEO, Kumar Rajagopalan said this step is a win-win for everyone, including businesses, consumers and government.

    “With government clearing Model Shops and Establishment Bill, a model has been created which will have to be adopted by states. Some states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have already adopted retail policy. This will benefit not just businesses but also consumers and government in the form of taxes and higher employment. Retailers will experiment for sure,” he said.

    Agreeing with Rajagopalan, Lacoste India Managing Director and CEO Rajesh Jain said it is a good step from the Centre.

    “For us, we don’t keep all our stores open for 24 hours, but we look at strategic locations. Extended hours will definitely help. This move will be very good, particularly for food and beverage industry,” he said.

    When asked if Shoppers Stop would look at opening stores round-the-clock, Shrikhande said: “We would do cost benefit analysis to see whether it is feasible to keep stores open round-the-clock, one can look at opening stores at few catchment areas or extend working hours.”

    The Seventh Pay Commission hike will give a big boost to consumption in the retail sector, he added. Austin Czarnik Jersey

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