Retail sales growth slows down in December

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani | | Updated on: Jan 11, 2022
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The pace of growth was seen dropping off towards last week of December on fresh curbs by States

Retail sales growth witnessed a slowdown in the country in December compared to the pre-pandemic levels due to rising Covid cases.

According to the monthly Retail Business Survey released by Retailers Association of India (RAI), retail sales grew by 7 per cent in December 2021 compared to December 2019 and 26 per cent compared to December 2020. Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “Retail business was on a steady growth trajectory during most of December, however, the pace of growth was seen dropping off significantly towards the last week of December due to fresh curbs imposed in most parts of the country owing to the third wave of the pandemic.”

While the overall growth was positive, some discretionary spends driven categories witnessed a de-growth compared to pre-pandemic levels. “Beauty, wellness & personal care (-7 per cent), furniture and furnishings (-5 per cent) slipped into the red once again as compared to the pre-pandemic sales in December 2019. Sales across consumer durables and electronics (26 per cent), sports goods (14 per cent), jewellery (9 per cent), footwear (7 per cent ) and apparel & clothing (2 per cent) too started to lose steam,” the survey stated.

Retail sales growth in the southern region was estimated at 8 per cent in December 2021 compared to December 2019. At the same time, sales witnessed a growth of about 11 per cent in Northern region in December compared to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, retail sales in the western and eastern region grew by 9 per cent and 3 per cent respectively in December, RAI stated.

The industry body has appealed to the Centre to instruct the State Governments to refrain from imposing restrictions based on positivity rate and consider hospitalisations as the criteria to determine the severity instead as most of the country’s population is vaccinated. “Doing so will avoid unnecessary panic among citizens and businesses while minimising the impact on livelihoods,” it added.

Published on January 11, 2022

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