As shoppers walked into the Phoenix Mills complex at Lower Parel on Monday, many were taken by surprise to find clothing stores shut.
More than 20,000 retailers, including major brands such as Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Westside, Lifestyle, Madura Garments and Arvind Brands, shut shop in the city to protest against the proposal to impose 10% excise duty on branded garments.
Shopping districts and malls were deserted as more than 20,000 clothing stores in the city downed shutters, said Rahul Mehta, president of Clothing Manufacturers Association of India.
The business loss as a result of the strike is estimated at Rs500 crore nationally and Rs100 crore in the city, said Viren Shah, president, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.
The move was successful in creating awareness among customers, who will eventually bear the burden of the tax. "I didn't know about the tax until I saw the notice on the shop windows. It is reassuring to know that retailers are against the move," said Anisha Lalvani, 23.
Model Brinda Parekh said it was the responsibility of the public to stand up and protest against the tax through social media or organising a rally.
Mehta said their request was for a complete rollback of the tax and not just a reduction. "A new tax will create many procedural complications and slow down the industry. We prefer the introduction of goods and services tax, " he said.
"With today's protest it is clear that this hike impacts garment retailers at all level. The industry is already facing challenging times due to rise in prices of raw material and cotton by more than 100% in one year," said Ashesh Amin, president-apparel and retail, SKNL, a textile company.
"The additional impact of the excise hike will be felt across the industry and will be different based on various factors," he added.