Friday, May 04, 2012: 03:58:16 PM

Retail News

Retail inflation remains a concern

Figures continue to remain above comfort levels for the average consumer

In spite of overall inflation showing signs of moderation, retail inflation continues to be above the comfort level of the average consumer. Reports indicate that the retail inflation for industrial workers stood at 8.65% in March 2012, thanks to the hike in food prices in recent months.

According to a Labour Ministry statement, the consumer price index (industrial workers) rose from 7.57% in February to 8.65% in March. The rise has been attributed to the hike in the prices of rice, wheat and other commodities of daily consumption.
Considering the recent hikes in retail prices, it is clear that the average consumer is still under significant stress. While the government has been positive about the trends witnessed in the inflation rates, middle class consumers are still complaining of hiked prices.
For the retailers, the spike in the prices due to various macroeconomic fluctuations comes as bitter news considering that the average consumer is in direct contact with the industry. According to Soumyajit Dey, business analyst at Fi-Tek India, an established market research firm, “Retailers face the maximum flak from the consumer who refuse to realise that the hike in the prices is a result of manipulation at a different level.”
Not for the common man
The figures indicating the price rise for the industrial workers is also a great indicator of the impact the government policies have on the common man. Also, since the industrial workers form a significant section of the working population, the hike’s impact is also quite worrying.
Food retail however has witnessed one of the most unpredictable fluctuations in recent months with 1 month witnessing the figures dip below zero and a significant spike in the days ahead. Retailers as well as the consumer will hope that not only does overall inflation witness more moderation, but its components remain under control as well.
Tias Chakraborty

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