KOLKATA: India’s retail chains are set to increase their marketing and promotional expenditure for the festive season shopping starting next month in an attempt to revive footfalls and consumer spending after their just concluded end-of-season sales flopped.Apart from discounts, lifestyle and apparel retailers plan to showcase the widest range of new products on their shelves over the next four months, their busiest time in terms of revenue.The festive season starts with Onam in September and goes on through Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali in October before concluding around the New Year.Lifestyle, Max, Arrow, US Polo Association, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Sephora and Vijay Sales are increasing their marketing budget by at least 15-20% for the festive season. Others including Spencer’s Retail, Nature’s Basket and Puma are doubling it over last year. Film star Sonam Kapoor has been roped in to endorse the Spencer’s chain and Nature’s Basket.Negative Consumer Sentiment“There will be heightened marketing and advertising this year and the spend will be 15-20% more than what we usually do during the festive season,” said J Suresh, MD of Arvind Lifestyle Brands. “These are difficult times and consumer sentiment has been tilted towards the negative for some time now. So, we need to keep the brand afresh in the minds of consumers.” Arvind Lifestyle Brands runs over 1,300 stores, including brands Arrow, Tommy Hilfiger and Aeropostale.70902501
Lifestyle Retail has earmarked a higher marketing budget for the next four months, managing director Vasanth Kumar said.“The recently concluded end-of-season sale was flat. The next four months we have to drive consumption, which has been largely down this year,” he said.Food and grocery retailer Spencer’s Retail is investing heavily in marketing and advertising to increase visibility in a crowded market and engaging with consumers to get their attention, said managing director Devendra Chawla.“This also allows us to leverage traditional and digital mediums like Instagram to connect with consumers in an omni-present way,” said Chawla.German sports wear retailer Puma India MD Abhishek Ganguly said it is launching the highest number of products this season, about 20% more than usual, to drive footfalls.Shoppers have stayed away from purchases over three quarters due to liquidity issues, weak job market, distress among rural households, a volatile stock market and overall poor sentiment in the economy. There was a spike in sales during Independence Day due to bigger discounts, but the footfalls fell drastically thereafter.Moody’s Investors Service recently lowered India’s GDP growth forecast for the current year to 6.2% from 6.8%. However, consumer sentiment is expected to revive from September due to the festive season, lower interest rates for home loans, which should put more disposable cash in the hands of consumers, and a normal monsoon that will revive rural consumption.ITC executive director B Sumant said while consumption is still slow this quarter, it may revive as the monsoon improves and the government’s recent structural initiatives boost sentiment. Although smartphones and refrigerators have largely bucked the slowdown trend this year, electronic retailers are not taking any chances. Vijay Sales director Nilesh Gupta said the retailer will run promotional campaigns every weekend while handset and electronics companies too may increase their spending.Tata-owned Croma’s chief of marketing and insights Ritesh Ghosal said while there is a slowdown in footfalls, this festive season will see high decibel campaigns from the top brands and attractive customer offerings such as EMIs and buyback offers.
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