Retail sales in the month of May 2021 stood at (-)79 percent 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 percent in May 2021 (Y-o-Y), categories such as Food and Grocery fared better than categories like Footwear (-)86 percent, beauty, wellness and personal Care (-) 87 percent and sports goods (-) 80 percent as compared to pre-covid sales levels (May 2019), according to the 16th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) indicates that.
Retailers across regions are reflecting a deep fall in sales with Southern India at (-)73 percent in May 2021 as compared to May 2019 pre-covid sales, Eastern region at (-)75 percent, while Western and Northern regions have indicated (-)83 percent 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 pandemic-induced restrictions. Easing the burden will require collaborative efforts by various stakeholders.