Saturday, June 27, 2009

No respite for dealers in Orissa

Even as the record summer heat and pending college results play havoc with the sales of dealers, Maoist attacks have added to the situation
Avishek Rakshit

Friday, June 26, 2009

PURI, INDIA: While Orissa and parts of eastern India gear up to celebrate Rath Yatra, an important festival in Orissa, the scene is not all that bright in IT sales in Orissa this year.
"During festive seasons, generally the market here is swamped with numerous offers particularly on laptops and desktops. This time however, it seems that while we have overcome the worst of the slowdown, we are yet to see good market growth," said Bhubaneswar-based Subash Das of Info World.

Like the previous year, computer accessories like speakers, headphones, USB storage devices, mouse, printers, UPS and other components constitute the bulk of the offers during the season. Offers from desktop and laptop vendors like HP, Compaq and Lenovo also flood the market.

With most of the trade happening during June-August, and the state boasting of technical colleges, Orissa is reeling under a major drop in sales.

Speaking about the scenario, BK Mishra of Bhubaneswar-based Targus Technology said, "Though the ill effects of the slowdown are declining, yet there are primarily two factors which have affected sales this time. In the first place, college results are not yet out and so the students are not making any purchases at present. The other reason is that this year Orissa has registered a record summer with the mercury soaring to over 45 degrees centigrade. Owing to the heat, most of the end customers are staying at home, hence sales has been direly hit."

Supporting the statement, GB Gupta of Bhubaneswar-based Tri Star Software said, "College admissions take place during June-August and this is the time when the bulk sales in hardware happens. On the software front, the state is stagnant. There has not been any increase or considerable decrease in software sales recently."

However, the market pattern in Orissa is changing fast. Most of the outlets and channel partners are now concentrating more on retail sales rather than channel business.

"The profit margin is higher in direct retail sales rather than through channel partners. The bill clearance is fast in retail and also the cash flow is higher. Now, across Orissa, nearly all channel partners are preferring direct retail sales rather than channel dealings," Prasant Kumar Swain of Bhubaneswar-based Nigama Computech & Services emphasized.

Unlike most of the states in eastern India, Orissa is seeing development of IT retail throughout the state. Although Bhubaneswar accounts for nearly 70 percent of the total business, Cuttak, Balasore, and Sambalpur are also strong markets, especially in Rourkela which has major corporate and MNC offices apart from its industrial setup.

In this scenario, recently, repeating their success in Bengal, the Maoists have struck in Sambalpur, this time, with considerable force.

At least 125 villages in the district have been cut off from the rest of the state since June 16 after Maoists felled more than 30 trees on three roads that connect the region to the district headquarters of Koraput.

Discussing the situation in Sambalpur, Mishra added, "The Maoists are very active in Rourkela, Sundergarh and Sambalpur districts. The last I heard, business in Sambalpur has been direly affected by the Naxalite violence. However, there has not been any effect on trading this time in Backbencher."


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