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Mass job losses in Indian retail feared as malls closed

If India’s retail lockdown continues through to June, 30 per cent of retailers will collapse and 1.8 million jobs will be lost, predicts Retail Association of India CEO Kumar Rajagopalan.

“There has been a significant impact on apparel, jewellery, shoes and CDIT [consumer electronics, durables, IT and telephones] retail,” said Kumar. “Stores selling essential goods that have been allowed to remain open during the lockdown are also suffering losses as they aren’t allowed to sell other general merchandise, which would otherwise bring them higher margins.”

International home-furnishings retailer Ikea is among the high-profile retailers that have significantly delayed expansion plans due to the coronavirus outbreak. Ikea India has put off its plan to launch its Navi Mumbai store and two small-format stores in Mumbai. It has also suspended operations at its flagship in Hyderabad.

The Retail Association of India has asked the government for a relief package for the industry, similar to those approved in other countries. It has asked for wage subsidies, support for utility bills, and extensions on compliance payments and statutory dues.

The deadlines for filing tax returns have already been extended to June 30.

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