In an interview with the media outlet BTVi, senior category head at Parle Products, Mayank Shah clarified that there have been no job losses at Parle yet and that the issue has been blown out of proportion by naysayers. There were reports recently that slowdown could force ParleG to lay off 10,000 staff members.
Shah added that there has been a marked decline in the sales of their products, attributing the slumping sales to the GST tax slab for biscuits below Rs 100 per kg, which attracts 18% GST.
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“Biscuit as an industry or category has been severely affected. This phenomenon is industry-wide and not Parle specific. The consumer is thinking twice before buying biscuits now. Biscuits which were earlier exempted from excise were now included after the advent of the GST. This has had a serious effect on the sales of the basic biscuits which are less than Rs 100 per Kg. Right now, basic biscuits fall under the same 18 per cent GST slab as the premium biscuits,” Shah said.
Shah further stated that their company has been requesting the government from last 1 year to look into the matter. “Premium segment biscuits which are sold at or above Rs 100 per kg and basic biscuits which are less than Rs 100 per Kg are two different categories. We have been requesting the government to provide concessions to us in basic biscuits category by changing its GST slab as it did with apparels, footwear and other commodities,” Shah said.
Dismissing the reports of downsizing at Parle Products, Shah said that the job losses will be an eventuality if the sales of the basic biscuits category continue to decline. Once the category which used to grow at 10-12 per cent per annum is currently declined by 7-8 per cent.
“Sales of premium biscuits at Parle are showing impressive growth. However, the sales of the basic biscuits category which is for the consumption of common man is getting the beating after the implementation of GST. We have to take a price hike because of the GST. We urge the government to exempt basic biscuits, which are priced less than Rs 100 per Kg be exempted from the tax like it was before the GST,” Shah said.