The retail industry is bearing the brunt of government's order of keeping malls and theatres closed amid rising positive cases of novel coronavirus.
“The situation is looking very grim,” said Lalit Agarwal, CMD at V-Mart Retail. “Stores in certain districts have been closed to try and prevent people to assemble at one place. We have already closed down more than 10 stores till now.”
“Things don’t look very positive, footfalls are drying up. But as an organisation, we are trying to be with the government to help them prevent and contain the virus,” Agarwal added.
Several states have ordered shutdown of shopping malls etc in order to prevent a further outbreak of the coronavirus. This has resulted in shares of retailers getting affected.
Shares of Future Retail, V-Mart Retail and Trent have fallen between 25 and 50 percent over the past two months, as investors brace for the impact of the shutdowns on the industry.
“For the retail space, it is a brave call. The situation on the ground today
But since some of the states and some of the bigger cities the malls have been closed or cinema halls have been closed. it will take quite a bit of time for the things to come back,” said Amnish Aggarwal.
Aggarwal added that it would be difficult to forecast the impact on retailers’ earnings.
“We don’t know to what extent the virus is going to impact the country. So maybe another month or two months are going to be testing times for that and after that it will require some time for the consumers to start flocking into these places. As of now, for anyone to say that how much will be the earnings cut, it will be too premature a call,” he said.
V-Mart’s Agarwal added that he was looking at a very Q1. “A lot of events are getting cancelled, marriages may get affected. A lot of ceremonies are getting cancelled. So all the reasons why people will shop are not there. It is going to be difficult in Q1.”