Strong resolve vital to reach final goal - Retailers Association chief | Sunday Observer
Road ahead bumpy and winding

Strong resolve vital to reach final goal - Retailers Association chief

30 April, 2023
Charitha Subasinghe   Pic: Gayan Pushpika
Charitha Subasinghe Pic: Gayan Pushpika

“Sri Lanka is on a better footing than it was a few months ago,” said newly elected Chairman of the Sri Lanka Retailers Association (SLRA), Charitha Subasinghe at its Annual General Meeting recently.

He said that the lifestyle of Sri Lankans would change for the better. “If not for the pandemic and the economic downturn the lifestyle change would have happened at a much faster pace.”

He, however, said that the road ahead is going to be quite bumpy and winding. “It would need a strong resolve, politically as well as socially, to ride through these tricky turns.”

He said that in that context they as an association would engage with the authorities in every possible way to provide input and influence policymakers to stay on course to arrive at the final destination.

He said that as retailers their business activities touch the lives of almost every Sri Lankan directly and disclosed that the retail sector directly accounts for around 1/3rd of the GDP and over 15% of direct employment.

However, the contribution to the economy from the retail sector is much bigger when we look at the retail sector as a total ecosystem.

“Why I call it an ecosystem is because it also provides investment opportunities for land and building owners and mall operators to earn a rental income, service providers such as security companies and janitorial companies to recruit and provide services, providing boarding facilities and meals to the significant number of team members who come to the city for employment in the retail sector and the transport and logistics providers.”

The last three to four years were some of the most difficult period in modern history. Starting from the Easter attack, the C-19 pandemic to the economic down turn where we as retailer were impacted significantly.

The fiscal policy changes the government was forced to take to come out of the economic bankruptcy further impacted us as retailers.

“Despite all these challenges we retailers found different ways to face these challenges and I believe today we stand a lot more confident and better equipped than we were before.” Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association has established a voice for the retailers in Sri Lanka and its contribution to the economy has been recognised among the policy makers of the country.

Ultimately the mood of the consumer and the country is determined by the performance of the retail sector, said chieaf guest at the event President, Chamber of Commerce, Vish Govindasamy.

“Last year, from an expenditure approach to GDP, Household Consumption was about 62% of the overall GDP.

This highlights the role of the consumer vis-a-vis the economy and the importance of retail. The retail sector has no