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Offline mobile phone retailers body wants regulator for e-tailers like Amazon & Flipkart to curb 'predatory prices'

“We don’t want that online retail alone should be regulated; the rules should be same for all retailers, online or offline. We want a level playing field,” Malik said.

, ET Bureau|
Oct 11, 2014, 04.01 AM IST
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“We don’t want that online retail alone should be regulated; the rules should be same for all retailers, online or offline. We want a level playing field,” Malik said.
“We don’t want that online retail alone should be regulated; the rules should be same for all retailers, online or offline. We want a level playing field,” Malik said.
NEW DELHI: A grouping of small and medium-sized mobile phone retailers has decided to seek the formation of an independent regulatory authority to ensure a level playing field between online and brick-and-mortar stores, days after it urged the government to conduct an inquiry into the massively discounted prices offered by competing e-tailers.

Hurt by the “predatory prices” offered by e-commerce players such as Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal during the ongoing sales in the run-up to Diwali, the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) general secretary Dheeraj Malik said the body wants all retailers to follow fair trade practices.

“We don’t want that online retail alone should be regulated; the rules should be same for all retailers, online or offline. We want a level playing field,” Malik told ET after the body held its first national-level meeting late Thursday night.

Mobile phones are among the highest selling products on online portals. During the festive season, sale volumes for all consumer products rise dramatically and retailer margins rise from 10-15% to up to 20%.

Malik said the association was talking to the government and had met minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, seeking an inquiry committee into the discounts being offered by the etailers.

Flipkart clocked about Rs 600 crore in sales in just 10 hours, with its site recording one billion hits in a day-long pre-Diwali discount sale on Monday.

Online sales account for just 1% of India’sRs 30 lakh crore retail industry but are projected to grow rapidly.

Softening their stand on boycotting certain brands, retailers said they will work with brands to ensure continuity of business but make them aware of problems caused by rampant and heavy discounting online.

“We do not want the consumer to get a raw deal. They should have the option of online pricing, but the discounting is so high it is threatening the business of hundreds of retailers and the indirect industry it supports,” Malik said.

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