The 16th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) indicates that retail sales in the month of May 2021 stood at -79 per cent of the pre-COVID level of sales on a Y-o-Y comparison with May 2019 as retail businesses across states were closed due to the second wave of the pandemic.
With sales at -34 per cent in May 2021 (Y-o-Y), categories such as Food & Grocery fared better than categories like Footwear (-86 per cent), Beauty, Wellness & Personal Care (-87 per cent) and Sports Goods (-80 per cent) as compared to pre-COVID sales levels (May 2019).
Retailers across regions are reflecting a deep fall in sales with Southern India at -73 per cent in May 2021 as compared to May 2019 pre-COVID sales, Eastern region at -75 per cent, while Western and Northern regions have indicated -83 per cent sales in May 2021 as compared to May 2019.
Many of the states have now slowly begun to open all forms of retail in a calibrated manner. Commenting on the current state of the retail industry, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said “Retailers are looking forward to some improvement in the month of June with gradual unlocking. However, the retail industry needs collective support of various government bodies to tide over the present situation.”
Retail businesses continue to face financial pressures on various fronts such as salaries, rentals, electricity charges and various taxes and license fees among others due to the pandemicinduced restrictions. Easing the burden will require collaborative efforts by various stakeholders.
Formal Retail Spaces are Essential to Revival of the Economy
RAI also appreciated the proactive measures taken by the various State Governments to ensure steady access of essential commodities and services to the citizens of the State despite curbs during the second wave of the pandemic.
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