ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s retailers have asked for reduction on rent, delayed utility payments and loan relief as a Covid-19 wave and lockdowns has hit the sector, with some sectors such as clothing and consumer durables being completely shut.
Sri Lanka Retailers Association an industry body representing, consumer goods, clothing, fashion and jewelry, consumer durables, footwear, e-commece, entertainment, restaurants, healthcare and wellness said the sector accounted for about 15 percent of employment.
“Vibrant retail is an essential part of a healthy and robust economy,” the association said. “Many retailers are suffering losses due to the prevailing situation in the country caused by the COVID-19.
“The current impact supersedes the previous lockdowns in terms of the effect on retail businesses.”
SLRA President Murali Prakash appealed to landlords and lessors to provide a 50 concession on properties leased and rented by members.
SLRA said many members are struggling to stay afloat.
“We believe the landlords, lessors, and other business partners would share part of the costs through reduced rentals and other cost-sharing options; thus, together, we navigate to create a better tomorrow,” the SLRA said.
“We understand the impact this would have on the lessors and landlords. However, the industry needs to stay afloat for all parties to benefit in the future, and therefore we believe collective action is the way forward.”
The Association appealed to authorities to consider special relief on loan repayments concessions on utility and trade levies, especially for smaller retailers.
Sri Lanka imposed a nation-wide lockdown from the last week of May which is being relaxed from June 21, subject to health regulations. (Colombo/June20/2021)