Around 1000 frontline workers at one of India’s oldest retail chain, Shoppers Stop, have lost their jobs to the covid-19 pandemic. As is the case, modern retail has been one of the worst hit sectors. In addition, there are other 160-odd employees working at the backend, have also been given the pink slip.
Shoppers Stop employee strength is around 7,500, out which around 1,100 were forced to exit – which makes around 15 per cent of the employees. These employees are mostly from the junior- and mid-level. The company claims that due to the ongoing pandemic, the demand for products is unlikely to pick up in the near future, which is why it has been forced to close down certain stores, and thus this layoff.
However, this isn’t the end of the story. Shoppers Stop maintains that the laid off staff will be taken back once normalcy returns. Right now, they will be given two months’ salary. The chain apparently incurs costs of up to Rs 315 crore in employee expenses alone, which is almost 15 per cent of its yearly sales.
K Raheja Corp., which owns the chain, has 90 department stores of which 55 have reopened post relaxation of lockdown by the Government.
The chain claims having considered all possible options to ensure that the least number of employees are affected by the present circumstances. However, these layoffs had to be resorted to in order to cut costs and maintain business continuity.
Other retailers, such as the Future Group in India, and global names, such as Gap and Macy’s have downsized drastically, affecting lakhs of employees since the outbreak. Others have imposed heavy pay cuts, with some of their senior managers sacrificing their salaries entirely to help tide over these tough times.