The retail industry's business is on the brink of full recovery as it achieved 93 per cent of the pre-COVID sales in February, according to a report.
Segments such as consumer durables and quick service restaurants (QSR) have shown positive growth of 15 per cent and 18 per cent respectively in February 2021, the report from the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said.
"The quantum of de-growth in retail sales has reduced as most segments in retail have started to show significant improvement," it said.
Categories like footwear, beauty, wellness and personal care, sports goods and food and grocery are showing steady month-on-month recovery.
"The 13th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) indicates sales in February 2021 were at -7 per cent of last year's sales on a Y-o-Y comparison and at -18 per cent in Q3FY21 on a Y-o-Y comparison," it said.
Recovery across regions is showing steady improvement, with eastern India indicating positive growth of 2 per cent in the month of February.
"Southern and Northern India have recovered better with sales nearing pre-COVID-19 levels at -6 per cent and -9 per cent respectively (Y-o-Y), while Western India has progressed slower at -16 per cent on a Y-o-Y comparison in the month of February 2021," it said.
RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said the retailers are hopeful of achieving pre-pandemic levels of business in the first six months of 2021.
"It is heartening to see recovery across categories. We hope that the uncertainty regarding the rising cases of COVID-19 in a few states will not cast its shadow on the growth momentum with the rollout of the vaccine," he added.
After the pandemic, it has now become imperative for every retailer to adopt 'phygital' in various ways -- be it social media, messaging platforms, or digital shopping, in addition to their normal channels to align themselves with the changing consumer mindsets of the next normal, he noted.
Although COVID-19 vaccinations have started, the pandemic situation may take some more time to completely settle. RAI believes that recovery will need unconventional solutions and government support, the report said.