Over the past week, India's worst power shortage in over six years has resulted in a loss of sales momentum for summer products such as ice cream, soft drinks, frozen foods, and medicines, as small-to-mid-sized retailers are refusing to stock large inventories of frozen or cold products due to a lack of power back-ups and long hours of power cuts, executives told Economic Times.
"The power shortage is impacting the offtake of categories such as ice-creams. "Household demand is being impacted, and neighbourhood retailers too are unable to stock inventories because many of them don’t have as much power back-up systems," said RJ Corp chairman Ravi Jaipuria to ET.
Among the worst-affected states are Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh. Last Thursday and Friday, parts of India saw power outages lasting up to ten hours.
The disruption comes at a time when sales of summer-facing products had been seeing record high sales amid early summer, the return of mobility, the return of the push-cart workforce to cities, and the revival of business and leisure travel over March and the first three weeks of April.
Frequent power cuts are causing disruptions in the stocking of cold or frozen products, and dozens of Kirana shop owners have stopped stocking ice cream and other cold items since the products run the risk of deterioration, said Prem Kumar, chief of retail tech company SnapBizz, to ET.
"The disruptions are being faced mainly by neighbourhood stores, which still contribute 90% of India’s overall grocery retail," he added.
On Thursday, India recorded an all-time high peak power demand of 204.65 GW.
The Indian Meteorological Department confirmed that this year's March was the hottest in over a century. Moreover, the country is also facing its highest power cuts in 6 years.