Supplies dry up as kiranas cater to last-minute buyers amid Covid-19 scare

Kirana stores in and around the Santacruz and Chembur areas of Mumbai are stocked for now. But just. The situation is no different in cities like Delhi and Gurugram.

As last-minute buyers pick up groceries from flour bread, noodle soap, anticipating longer stops, Suresh Kiranawala, the owner of one of the eastern corner stores in Santacruz, says its inventory will soon be exhausted.

“I normally keep stocks for about eight days in my store. But since the coronavirus epidemic (Covid-19), stocks have run out quickly, forcing me to ask for replenishment every two to three days. The new stock arrived for the last time on Saturday, I have inventory for the next 24 hours, ”he says.

At Darshan Kiranawala, a convenience store located some distance from the Suresh store, items such as packaged flour, cookies and soaps are no longer available. Darshan says he will run out of everything he needs and wait for other supplies. “Which is my choice? Transportation is a huge problem right now. Locking is hitting business hard,” he says.

Pharmacies in Mumbai and Delhi are also struggling to replenish stocks of handwashing products, hand sanitizers and shampoos.

Conversations with several distributors and retailers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Delhi indicate that traders find it difficult to transport goods to points of sale as police barricade busy roads and brings together people who violate blockages.

“The factories are closed and there is no movement from warehouses to stockists, distributors and retailers,” said C H Krishna, president of the Federation of All India Distributors Association (FAIDA). “Sales will suffer and small retailers will find it difficult to absorb the losses,” he says. On Tuesday, Coca-Cola India and Nestlé India joined Dabur to announce the reduction and suspension of operations at certain factories due to the foreclosure. Coca-Cola said it would only work in a few factories.

Some other companies, such as Godrej Consumer and ITC, advise local authorities to allow them to continue manufacturing essential items in their factories, creating buffer stocks, and work with their suppliers to facilitate timely and uninterrupted supply inputs and packaging materials.

Arun Parikh, a Gujarat-based distributor, says that many retailers will be forced to leave the business. “With sales stalled, retailers and distributors must continue to pay utility bills, rent, equivalent monthly payments on loans taken out, and salaries for their staff. Overcoming these challenges is not easy when incomes are falling, ”he says.

While the government said on Tuesday that the filing of goods and services tax and return returns has been postponed to June 30, sources said FAIDA should petition the government in the coming days to request more relief measures for small retailers.


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