Retail sales down 49% in April against pre-pandemic levels: RAI survey

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on May 26, 2021

Sports goods, footwear, jewellery and beauty sectors among worst-hit

The retail industry’s pan-India sales declined by nearly 49 per cent in April this year against the pre-pandemic levels of April in 2019, as the country battles with the second wave of the pandemic and States imposed lockdown-like restrictions on malls, shopping centres and non-essential stores.

According to the findings of the monthly business survey conducted by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), the second wave hit the country at a time when the retail industry was in the recovery mode and was inching closer to the pre-pandemic levels. Decline in retail sales was hovering at around 12 per cent in March 2021 compared to March in 2019, according to RAI’s estimates.

RAI’s retail survey is based on responses of a sample set of 63 organised retailers across various categories.

Affected sectors

Sports goods, footwear, jewellery and beauty seem to be among the hardest hit categories due to the lockdown-like restrictions imposed by the States.

Consumer durables and electronics retailers witnessed a decline of 31 percent in sales in April 2021 compared to April 2019..

While sales of sports good declined by nearly 66 per cent in April 2021 compared to April 2019, footwear sales witnessed a de-growth of 61 per cent. Sales in beauty, wellness and personal care category was also down by 59 per cent. Jewellery retailers witnessed similar declining sales trends in April.

Wake-up call for retailers to re-strategise

Apparel and clothing sales declined by 47 per cent (April 2021 vs April 2019), while the quick-service restaurant segment, too, witnessed a dip in sales by 45 per cent.

Modern trade food and grocery stores were also impacted as malls and shopping centers were one of the first set of businesses to suspend operations before authorities moved to more stringent measures.

Region-wise sales

The latest monthly business survey revealed that retail sales in the western region plunged by nearly 72 per cent last month, compared to the same period in 2019. Maharashtra was one of the first States to impose partial lockdown.

Meanwhile, sales of retailers in the northern region were down by 45 per cent, at the same time southern and eastern regions witnessed a decline of 40 per cent and 38 per cent in sales respectively during April (versus April 2019).


Published on May 26, 2021

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