Retailers reach 93% of pre-COVID sales: RAI

The retail industry’s business is on the brink of full recovery as it achieved 93% of pre-COVID sales in February, according to a report.

Segments such as consumer durables and quick service restaurants (QSR) have shown growth of 15% and 18% respectively in February 2021, the report from the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said.

“The quantum of de-growth in retail sales has reduced as most segments in retail have started to show significant improvement,” it said. Categories such as footwear, beauty, wellness and personal care, sports goods and food and grocery are showing steady month-on-month recovery.

“The 13th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) indicates sales in February 2021 were at -7% of last year’s sales on a year-on-year (yoy) comparison and at -18% in Q3FY21 on a yoy comparison, ”it said.

Recovery across regions was showing steady improvement, with eastern India indicating growth of 2% in February. “Southern and Northern India have recovered better with sales nearing pre-COVID-19 levels at -6% and -9% respectively (yoy), while Western India has progressed slower at -16%,” it said.

RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said retailers were hopeful of achieving pre-pandemic levels of business in the first six months of 2021. “It is heartening to see recovery across categories. We hope that the uncertainty regarding the rising cases of COVID-19 in a few states will not cast its shadow on the growth momentum with the roll-out of the vaccine, ”he added.

After the pandemic, it has become imperative for retailers to adopt ‘phygital’ – be it social media, messaging platforms, or digital shopping, in addition to their normal channels to align themselves with the changing consumer mindsets, he noted. Recovery would need unconventional solutions and government support, RAI said.


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