Retailers clocked on an average a growth of 5 per cent in February this year compared to same period last year, indicating continued sluggishness in demand, according to Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI). 

The growth was led by categories such as sports goods, footwear and quick service restaurants (QSR) 

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, said, “Customers seem to spend cyclically across categories and regions. East of India was showing strong growth for most part of the financial year, but seems to have weakened over the last couple of months. Similarly, CDIT products growth seem to face headwinds in the last quarter while it grew well in the first three quarters.”

“Overall consumers are recalibrating purchases based on various category spend across the stated categories as well as travel and capital expenditure like automobiles and housing purchases. What we also gather is that the middle-class consumers are stretching their budgets, thanks to easy availability of finance and then are recalibrating their expenditure based on EMI outflows.”

The industry body said that in  February 2024 retailers in the West and South India clocked a growth of 6 per cent each, while North India indicated a growth of 4 per cent, followed by East India at a growth of only 3 per cent. “In categories, sports goods reported a growth of 9 per cent, followed by footwear (8 per cent) and QSR (7 per cent), compared with sales levels in February 2023,” the RAI stated.