With consumers back at stores and mobility having come back to normal, sales growth for retailers in the country outpaced pre-Covid levels in April.

According to the latest retail business survey, released by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), retail businesses reported a sales growth of 23 per cent in April 2022 compared to April 2019.

Inflation, a headwind

While volumes witnessed a surge, price hikes also contributed to this growth. “It is heartening to see customers back in stores, shopping and retailers are witnessing quantity growth in sales. While most categories have shown good performance, it is important to note that about 10 per cent of this growth can be accounted to inflation,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of RAI.

Expressing concerns regarding inflation, he added that it remains a ‘headwind’ and could act as a dampener for the upward trajectory.

Retailers in the northern region reported a growth of 32 per cent in sales last month compared to pre-pandemic levels, while in the western region, the growth was pegged at 24 per cent. Retailers in the eastern and southern regions reported 18 per cent growtheach, the survey findings noted.

Category-wise sales

In terms of categories, quick-service restaurants reported a sales growth of 45 per cent with consumers getting back to socialising as well as eating out. Robust demand for cooling products, too, have helped the consumer durables and electronics retailers clock a growth of 26 per cent last month compared to the pre-pandemic levels.

Analysts said apparel companies have been on a path of sharp recovery post the third wave due to reopening of offices and schools and an increased demand due to the wedding season. While the apparel and clothing retailers reported a growth of 23 per cent, footwear retailers clocked 22 per cent growth. Sales in the jewellery segment, too, was up 8 per cent.

Furniture and furnishing segment and sports goods retailers reported a sales growth of 4 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively. “Sales across categories continue to indicate steady growth, although the beauty and wellness segment is yet to come out of the red (de-growth of 1 per cent),” the RAI survey noted.

Compared to last year’s numbers, pan-India retail sales were pegged at about 41 per cent in April, according to the survey.