Localised lockdowns slowing revival, impacting retail sales: RAI survey

A policeman stands guard near a closed market after the authorities imposed weekend lockdown from Friday (6 PM) to Monday (6 AM) due to surge in Covid-19 cases, in Jammu

Localised lockdowns are slowing down revival and impacting retail sales as retailers saw de-growth of 52 per cent in August as compared to the same month last year, although there is a marginal recovery from the preceding months this year, according to a survey by RAI.

As per the 6th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), the only category that showed a significant improvement was consumer durables, though sales were still down 23 per cent compared to the year-ago month.

RAI said other sectors continued to be sluggish with the food and grocery category down by 46 per cent, footwear fell 47 per cent, apparel and clothing plummetted 54 per cent, sports goods dropped 58 per cent and beauty and wellness slipped 56 per cent.

Regionwise, the country's southern region posted a bit lesser impact with sales declining 46 per cent, followed by eastern part that dropped 52 per cent, and western and northern parts that saw a fall of 54 per cent last month as compared to August 2019.

"On the whole, across regions, large retailers are performing marginally better than medium-sized retailers," it added.

RAI said, "The smooth rollout of Unlock 3.0 in August 2020 encountered hurdles in the form of localised lockdowns in some states interrupting business planning and operations. The lockdowns are slowing down revival."

Commenting on the findings, RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, "The retail industry has started to witness some green shoots, especially in states that are allowing retail to operate with fewer interruptions."

He further said, "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 per cent short of last year's figures. Some segments may even do better.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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