It’s a booming Diwali for retail biggies

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India’s biggest retailers have a good reason to cheer this Diwali as festive sales are proved to be much better than expectations.

They are celebrating festivities along with consumers with heightened sale activity and constantly ringing cash registers. In fact, Shoppers Stop witnessed its highest single-day sales on Sunday November 11, at Rs 21.59 crores, leading the pack of retailers celebrating the festive mood. Others such as Future Group, Wills Lifestyle, Reliance Retail, Woodland and Lifestyle saw one of their best weeks ever with consumer sentiments bouncing back this Diwali.

Shoppers Stop achieved its highest full price sales at Rs 74.53 crores during the last week, 31 per cent more than the previous high of Rs 56.7 crores and Wills Lifestyle reported 25 per cent jump in overall sales, while the company’s same-store sales have increased 15 per cent. After a mundane summer, the industry was hoping for a positive turnaround and with sales of key categories like food, apparel and electronics showing growth of more than 20 per cent to 25 per cent, the overall scenario has changed to celebratory mood.

Industry is attributing the revival in consumer sentiment to economic reforms announced by the government in recent weeks. This included allowing up to 51 per cent FDI in supermarket chains and 100 per cent FDI in single-brand retail followed by positive movement at the stock market.

While there was a constant feeling that the consumers shop only during the discount period owing to high inflation and low buying sentiment, the current trend has also shown that there has been a sudden change in consumer behaviour for the last one month. Even conversion rate is better, signifying only serious shoppers are in the market. Retailers are seeing average billing size going up by 18 to 20 per cent. Shoe and apparel retailer Woodland, for instance registered more than Rs 4 crore sales on Sunday across its 350-plus stores in the country. Its sales in the 15 days preceding Diwali were 38 per cent more than last year at Rs 29 crores. Reliance Brands, which markets premium apparel brands such as Diesel, Kenneth Cole, Ermenegildo Zegna, Timberland, Paul & Shark and Superdry in the country, too recorded high incremental sales. After a delighting Diwali, no wonder, retailers are buoyant about the seasons ahead

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