As India began to roll back its Covid-related restrictions in June, furniture retailer Pepperfry was fast out of the blocks. Even as it dealt with the ever-changing regulations just like its rivals Urban Ladder and Swedish furniture giant IKEA, it had a secret weapon—a robust logistics wing. With 350 trucks, three warehouses, and 21 distribution centres catering to 500 cities, it was uniquely positioned to cater to a trend no Indian furniture retailer was really prepared for—a surge in online sales.
It isn’t hard to see why they were caught flatfooted. The pandemic was only the latest stage of the seemingly cursed game of snakes and ladders that Indian furniture retailers have been locked in.