Retailers in Chennai have decided to stay away from the traditional Aadi sale this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a handful are trying innovative methods to sell their products but are not calling it an Aadi sale.

Many said they didn’t even publicise the offers fearing crowds and social distancing issues.

The other big challenge is that if another lockdown is announced, consignments could get stuck mid-way.

Ramesh Pothy, managing director of Pothys, said that the Aadi sale would happen online but sales would not be promising this year.

‘Online live sale’

“We plan to have an online live sale through WhatsApp. A toll free number will be given to customers and once they call they will be directed to the shop (across all branches in Tamil Nadu). The salesperson will show the product they are looking for on video. Once they choose the item, they can make online payment. We have cash on delivery option too,” he added.

Another popular retailer on Ranganathan Street said, “This place is usually decked up for Aadi sale from the first week of July.

Every year around this time, you will see boards everywhere saying 20% off, 50% off — you will not find anything like that now,” he said.

“Those who are visiting T. Nagar now are purchasing only essentials. Also with no public transport, footfalls have fallen drastically.”

Sundari Silks in T. Nagar said that they will not have any Aadi sale this year.

But the firm will be experimenting with the traditional format, where the salesperson will be sent to the customers’ homes with a variety of options for them to choose from.

R. Manmohan Ram, Managing Partner, Sundari Silks, clarified that this is not being done for Aadi and said, “We will also have a video call service where the salesman will help with purchasing.”

He added, “There are options to shop online too and we will deliver in 48 hours.”

Consumer durable firms have decided to keep shops open but are not making any noise.

B.S. Vishal, vice-president, marketing, Viveks, said, “Aadi sale may not happen this time in consumer durables — market sentiment is very low for any sale during this pandemic.

“Customers stepping out is very uncertain.”

Mr. Vishal pointed out that supply chains have been hit across products and finance companies providing easy EMI Schemes have further tightened the norms that does not make it easily affordable. “Most likely we may see things getting better only during Deepavali which is in October and until then, ‘staying afloat is the need of the time’,” he added.

Vijay Vasanth, CEO of Vasanth and Co said that the firm will plan something by Monday. “But it would not be the same Aadi of the past,” he said.

The Managing Director of a firm that sells mobile handsets said that he has cancelled his Aadi plans fearing crowds. “Some of my shops are in containment zones so I did not want to take a risk. With job losses and salary cuts people are also not having enough monies to spend,” he said.

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