Festive fervour: Indian businesses gear up for borderless COVID-19 celebrations after three years

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For the first time in three years, Indian businesses are ready to celebrate the festive season without the COVID-19 curbs.

As the festive season approaches, many small businesses in India are hiring temporary workers, while larger ones are expanding into smaller towns and launching new products.

While the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Diwali take up the majority of September and November, even e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart are gearing up for deep discounts with their already announced annual sales.

The Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT) predicts that sales this Diwali season will reach levels at least 30% higher than last year.

“Consumer sentiment is very optimistic after two years of restrictions,” said CAIT General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal, who visited many parts of the country this month to urge traders to stock up and to ensure they have a variety of products to compete with online players. , told Reuters.

He said demand for CAIT members has already returned to more than 90% of pre-COVID levels.

While retail inflation in India has recently started a downward trend, spending is still a concern, according to Khandelwal.

Logistics companies are also doubling down to meet festive demand, with Smartr Logistics – which started operations a year ago – expanding into a dozen mostly smaller towns, while Ecom Express – delivering products on behalf of e-commerce companies – doubled its parcel processing capacity.

“We aim to boost connectivity beyond metropolitan cities to improve accessibility and ease of doing business for small and medium-sized businesses in tier two and three cities,” the founder of the company told Reuters. Smartr, Yogesh Dhingra.

Logistics operator Delhivery Ltd plans to create more than 75,000 seasonal jobs around September to cater for “significantly higher volumes during the festive season”.

With contributions from Reuters

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