Retail sales in India last month declined 79 percent from the sales recorded in the pre-Covid period of May 2019.
The decline comes on the back of the lockdowns across states amid the second wave of Covid-19, according to a survey by Retailers Association of India (RAI)
With sales down 34 percent in May 2021, 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).
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, the eastern region at '-75 percent', while western and northern regions have indicated '-83 percent' sales in May 2021 as compared to May 2019.
The RAI statement noted that 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."
The industry body in its statement noted that 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.