Retail Sales: Consumers in control

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

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Twice every year, retailers pull out all stops for the sale season: On January 26 and on August 15. Every year they also begin discounting their goods earlier than before. So much so that this year, by August 15 most of us would have already finished our sale shopping.

Longer sale periods, however, do not mean people are buying more. A quick check revealed that consumer electronics have been the worst hit among items on sale as buyer sentiment remains poor. The rupee depreciation has also pushed up prices by 20 percent in the past one year as a result of which consumers are staying away.

Apparel continues to do well, while food and groceries have shown growth, although it is lower than inflation. It looks like buyers are only willing to loosen their purse strings when the price is right. Sale or no sale.

(This story appears in the 05 September, 2014 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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