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Retailers stocked enough electric fans before coronavirus lockdown, says Usha's Rohit Mathur

As of now, only the Kerala Government has allowed the partial opening of stores selling fans for a fixed number of hours and with limited staff and in other states there are only a few district wise exemptions to open shops

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | April 28, 2020 | Updated 18:26 IST
Retailers stocked enough electric fans before coronavirus lockdown, says Usha's Rohit Mathur
The government recentky allowed electric fan shops to operate under the revised lockdown guidelines

Thirty three days into lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last week eased some restrictions. For instance, MHA's decision to allow shops selling electric fans is likely to ease the hardships faced due to the onset of summers. Anticipating hot summer this year, original equipment manufacturers  (OEMs) had already stocked the inventory, which should suffice the initial demand.

Rohit Mathur, President, Electric Fans, Water Heaters and Pumps, Usha International, says, "We started mobilizing inventory in preparation for the summer season - which is also the peak season for our industry. We had already stocked up our dealers before the lockdown was announced.

The dealers have enough stocks to cater to our consumers for a short period of time in near term. As soon as we have the requisite permissions, our backend and supply chain will be able to replenish stocks at the earliest. We are optimistic that we will soon see a partial opening with some state governments expected to respond positively. This will come as a great relief to all stakeholders, especially the consumer who is reeling under the onslaught of summer and needs fans under these serious heat conditions. The dealers, and the industry too, on the whole, shall benefit from the same."

This is a welcome move by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowing electric fan shops to operate under the revised lockdown guidelines, given that consumers are facing the onslaught of the relentless summer heat. However, it is the state government's decision on whether or not they will give permission keeping in mind the Red zones. As of now, only the Kerala Government has allowed the partial opening of stores selling fans for a fixed number of hours and with limited staff and in other states there are only a few district wise exemptions to open shops.

"While our dealers already have enough stock for now as we had ensured they were all stocked up before the lockdown, we are additionally also seeking permissions from the State Governments to open our warehouses. As soon as we have the requisite permissions, our backend and supply chain will be able to replenish stocks asap. While there are a few shops selling fans exclusively, the majority sell a mixed range of electrical products and we are also seeking local level clarifications on the Government's directives on the same", adds Mathur.

Gurgaon headquartered Usha International has its manufacturing facilities in Hyderabad, Kolkata and the company also works with partners based in UP, Himachal and Haryana. However, the company has not yet resumed manufacturing. "We are eager to resume manufacturing again. However, we have yet resumed manufacturing due to the lockdown period and also some of the units fall under Red Zones. We are optimistic that the state governments will respond positively as we have requested to allow the opening of our warehouses and transportation facilities, and we look forward to resuming our operations."

Usha International is a diversified consumer durable company and has been focused on both on the organized retail front, ecommerce and the retail dealer network across the country. Traditional distribution accounts for the majority of Usha's revenue, and the company has drawn a strategy to increase organised retail's share rapidly. "Currently, we have 50 company-owned and company-operated Usha branded retail stores in 38 cities. One of our major focus for sales has been on big retail chains to cater to the demands of our consumers by providing compelling products across all our categories. 'We have also partnered with e-commerce platforms to cater to the consumer of today who is on the go and prefers having the choice of ordering online", explains Mathur.

Usha International has a wide range of fans. While standard fans can be installed by the local technician, there are select premium variants for which the company offers free installation. For service network, Usha has a centralized in-house call centre that ensures speedy resolution of any issues the customer may be facing.

Also read: Coronavirus India live updates: COVID-19 cases reach 26,917, death toll at 826; Mohan Bhagwat calls for calm

Also read: Lockdown 2.0: Brace up for runaway prices; only 6% of wheat in market, 30% onion, 41% potato

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