The retail sector, along with several others, was crippled when India went in for a complete lockdown last March to arrest the spread of the pandemic. While other sectors have since recovered, retail had continued to lag.
The quantum of de-growth in retail sales has reduced as most segments have started to show significant improvement. A survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) indicates sales in February 2021 were at -7% of last year’s sales on a year-on-year (YoY) comparison.
RAI’s CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, “We hope that the uncertainty regarding the rising cases of Covid in a few states will not cast its shadow on the growth momentum with the rollout of the vaccine. Restrictions or not, 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.”
Consumer durables grew 15% YoY, while QSRs grew 18% in February. Categories like footwear, beauty, wellness & personal care, sports goods and food & grocery are showing a steady recovery, the survey said.
Recovery across regions is showing steady improvement with eastern India indicating growth of 2% in the month of February. Southern & northern India have recovered better with sales nearing pre-Covid levels at -6% and -9% respectively YoY, while progress in the western region was slower at -16%.