Marginal recovery in retail business

According to the 6th edition of the Retail Business Survey by Retailers Association of India (RAI) released last week, there have been signs of marginal recovery in retail business with degrowth figure registered at -52% in the month of August 2020 on a Y-o-Y comparison. Of all the four zonal pockets, South India has given the best performance.

According to RAI release, in the month of August’20 on a Y-o-Y comparison, the only category that showed significant improvement was Consumer Durables with sales at -23%. Food & Grocery (-46% y-o-y), Footwear (-47% y-o-y), Apparel & Clothing (-54% y-o-y), Sports Goods (-58% y-o-y), and Beauty & Wellness (-56% y-o-y) continue to be sluggish.

The Southern region is faring slightly better with sales at -46% y-o-y, followed by East at -52% y-o-y, and West & North at -54% y-o-y. On the whole, across regions, large retailers are performing marginally better than medium-sized retailers.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, said, “The retail industry has started to witness some green shoots especially in States that are allowing retail to operate with fewer interruptions. 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% short of last year’s figures. Some segments may even do better.”

 Despite the unlock 4.0 orders by the central government, local authorities in some states continue to impose partial lockdowns, which is dampening consumer sentiment and hampering recovery. RAI has appealed to the DPIIT and MHA to urgently intervene and instruct these State Governments to adhere the Central Government’s Unlock 4.0 guidelines as any shutdowns should be very carefully calibrated to ensure a balance between lives and livelihoods.

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