Brick-and-mortar retailers on Thursday claimed that their businesses have been hit by "predatory pricing and deep discounting" by the e-commerce companies and sought a "level playing field" with them. They urged small traders and kirana stores to embrace technology and improve consumers' connect. "We are not calling for a law or a ceiling on minimum price that can be charged. But there is a need for a level playing field between offline retailers and e-tailers," Retailers Association of India (RAI) Chairman B S Nagesh told reporters on the sidelines of a retail summit here in the city.
They claimed that businesses have been adversely impacted by "predatory pricing and deep discounting" by e- tailers like Amazon or Flipkart. Nagesh, also Chairman and Non Executive Director of 'Shoppers Stop', said that traditional retailers including kirana stores will have to "embrace technology". There are 12-15 million small and traditional retailers and 8-10 million of them are kirana stores, he said. Nagesh is hopeful that nearly 10-15 per cent of the retailers are expected to connect with consumers via online over a period of 5-10 years. He also said consumer sentiments continue to be "weak" and demand has been muted while the government's supports and measures have mostly been "concentrated on the supply side". "It will take some more quarters, say two to four, to revive demand. As of now, the overall sentiment remains weak," he said.