Omicron: 45% business loss in first week of 2022 incurred by traders due to fresh curbs: Survey

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Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: The decline in the first week of 2022 came only around two months after the record-breaking sale of Rs 1.25 lakh crore recorded by traders and retailers during last Diwali.

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: MSMEs and other traders across the country suffered a 45 per cent average loss in business during the first week of 2022, said traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) as states imposed fresh Covid-appropriate regulations to curb rising cases. Citing a survey conducted by its research arm CAIT Research and Trade Development Society from January 1 to January 6 among traders across 36 cities of different states, the confederation noted that the panic among people due to the third wave, reluctance among traders for goods distribution from neighbouring cities, capital crunch, and Covid restrictions imposed without consulting the traders were the main reasons for the decline in business activity. CAIT represents around 8 crore traders across approximately 40,000 trade associations in India. 

Category wise, around 35 per cent decline in FMCG segment, 45 per cent in electronics, 50 per cent in mobiles, 30 per cent in daily consumption items, 60 per cent in footwear, 30 per cent in jewellery, 65 per cent in toys, 65 per cent in gift items, 40 per cent in builder hardware, 50 per cent in sanitaryware, 30 per cent in apparel, 30 per cent in cosmetics, 25 per cent in furniture,  40 per cent in furnishing fabrics, 40 per cent in electrical goods, 35 per cent in suitcases, 45 per cent in luggage, 20 per cent in food grains, 45 per cent in kitchen appliances, 35 per cent in watches, 30 per cent in computer and computer goods, and 35 per cent in stationery was estimated during the week.

“The out-of-town buyer is not going out of his city, whereas the consumers are going to the market to buy goods only when it is really important. Due to this double whammy, the business has declined badly,” CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a joint statement.

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CAIT also expected a drop in business during the upcoming wedding season from around Rs 4 lakh crore to only about Rs 1.25 lakh crore due to the Covid impact. “During the wedding season, which will start from Makar Sankranti till the coming two-and-a-half months, there is a possibility of business of about Rs 1.25 lakh crore only,” said Khandelwal. 

Importantly, the decline in the first week of 2022 came only around two months after the record-breaking sale of Rs 1.25 lakh crore recorded by traders and retailers during last Diwali along with a business loss of over Rs 50,000 crore to China amid call to boycott Chinese goods, CAIT had said. Multiple state governments have already imposed night curfews, weekend lockdowns, restrictions in public gatherings, among other measures to control Covid cases. India had reported 1.59 lakh new Covid infections on Sunday, of which 3,623 were cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Health Ministry data. The daily positivity rate has now touched 10.21 per cent from 0.73 per cent a month ago.

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