Hoping to turn the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity to improve its operations, baby care products maker Chicco India has said it is expecting its sales to return to pre-COVID-19 level by October this year.
"The impact of COVID-19 has been quite significant especially during the lockdown.
Unlike many other countries, baby care was not kept into essential category, therefore the distribution of such products was hampered," Chicco India CEO Rajesh Vohra told PTI.
With easing of lockdown, customers have started coming back, he said adding that the company observed a 25 per cent shortfall in business in the past few months since the beginning of the pandemic.
"We are expecting to come back to pre-COVID-19 level of business by October." He, however, asserted that there are still many challenges related to industry supply chain, be it production, import or transportation.
Frequent city/state level lockdowns are further dampening consumer sentiments and therefore the demand, Vohra noted.
"Despite all the concerns, we are optimistic about our business and aim to recover the shortfall faced during this period," he said.
Vohra said the most impacted categories are toys and baby travel.
"Toys being a wishful purchase are negatively impacted. Baby travel is also affected because customer is not taking out babies even for a stroll in the society/ park."
The company is using the pandemic as an opportunity to improve, he stated adding that it is taking "strategic steps to strengthen the back-end and front-end so that it is better prepared to handle such situations in near future".
The company has increased focus on online channels, expediting new launches, finding newer ways to partner with retailers and improving services to them, he said.
Sensing growth opportunities, Chicco has launched a hand sanitiser for kids.
"Chicco sanitiser is being manufactured in India and we have launched it for India and a few neighbouring countries to start with.
We have such products available in our global line-up as well," Vohra said.
The company has decided to launch it in India now, considering the ever increasing demand of hygiene products from customers, he said.
Chicco India said its products that are used on a day-to-day basis including soap, shampoo, lotion, clothes and Chicco feeding accessories such as breast pumps, breast pads are doing very well.
With increased awareness around health and hygiene, the company is seeing "an upsurge in the demand" for products with germ killing properties like Chicco steam sterilisers, liquid disinfectants as well as baby laundry detergent.
"Consumers' pro-active approach to remain safe and avoid any sort of infection these days is leading the growth of Chicco anti-mosquito range," Vohra said.
Chicco India, part of Italy's Artsana Group, does not disclose its financial details.