According to the latest report by the Retailers Association of India, retail industry is limping back to normalcy with sales resuming and gradually inching closer to the pre-pandemic trajectory. However, the rate of improvement in sale is not the same in all regions. The Southern region is faring slightly better followed by East, West and North in terms of sale. The report said that large retailers are performing marginally better than medium-sized retailers. The sixth edition of the Retail Business Survey, however said retail sales shrank 52 percent from a year earlier in August.
“The retail industry has started to witness some green shoots, especially in states that are allowing retail to operate with fewer interruptions. Support from governments at local levels across the country with the assurance of no more localised lockdowns will help fast-track recovery of sales
during the upcoming festive season to almost to the same levels as last year, perhaps just 20 percent short of last year’s figures. Some segments may even do better,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, the association’s chief executive.
The association said that smooth rollout of Unlock 3.0 in August 2020 was hampered by localised lockdowns in some states. The lockdowns are slowing down revival and impacting retail sales, RAI said in the 6th edition of the Retail Business Survey. The survey revealed signs of marginal recovery as retailers continued to signal degrowth at -52% in the month of August 2020 on a Y-o-Y comparison.
In the month of August’20 on a Y-o-Y comparison, the only category that showed significant improvement was Consumer Durables with sales at -23%. Food & Grocery (-46% y-o-y), Footwear (-47% y-o-y), Apparel & Clothing (-54% y-o-y), Sports Goods (-58% y-o-y), and Beauty & Wellness (-56% y-o-y) continue to be sluggish.
Despite the unlock 4.0 orders by the central government, local authorities in some states continue to impose partial lockdowns, which is dampening consumer sentiment and hampering recovery, the association said in a statement. The industry body has appealed to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and the home ministry to instruct these states to adhere to the central government’s guidelines as any shutdowns should be very carefully calibrated to ensure a balance between lives and livelihoods. (Source: Economic Times)