Retailers looking at 2021 with cautious optimism: RAI
Retailers looking at 2021 with cautious optimism: RAI

With steady month-on-month recovery continuing in November and festive shopping bringing some respite to the retail industry, retailers are looking forward to 2021 with cautious optimism, according to RAI.

Retailers Association of India (RAI) in its 10th 'Retail Business Survey' said sales in November 2020 were 13 per cent short on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis.

Last month, consumer durables and electronics category continued to recover with a 12 per cent increase in sales over the same month last year, while food and grocery category has indicated growth at 5 per cent, it added.

Apparel and clothing segment is still reeling under pressure with a decline of 12 per cent against the pre-pandemic sales, RAI said.

Commenting on the findings, RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, "While the festive and the muted wedding season aided some recovery for certain segments, the lack of inbound travel of non-resident Indians during the winter has had a negative impact on sales".

Retail businesses may get further impacted by international travel restrictions being imposed due to the new strain of the virus. Furthermore, with local level restrictions coming back into play, retailers are moving towards 2021 with cautious optimism, he added.

"However, the industry is hopeful of achieving about 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels of business in the next six months," Rajagopalan said.

Retailers are looking at 2021 with cautious optimism, RAI said.

The association said the levels of recovery differ across regions as restrictions begin to ease in a capricious manner across states.

Western and eastern India are indicating a slower recovery with sales at -18 per cent and -17 per cent, respectively, as compared to the same month last year.

Northern and southern regions are progressing at -9 per cent, it added.

RAI said recovery will need "unconventional solutions and government support".

"At this juncture, all efforts are required to boost the local economy and help revive retail, saving millions of jobs," it noted.

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