Retailers witnessed sluggish sales growth in January, with the wedding season providing a boost to sales in only certain categories. Retailers also pointed out weaker discretionary spending in January. 

As per the latest survey released by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), retail sales grew by 5 per cent in January 2024 compared to the sales levels in January 2023.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “Retail businesses have shown a discouraging trend in the month of January as a comparison to January 2023. While the marriage season supported jewellery, food and grocery to post a growth, most of the other categories have witnessed minimal growth.”

“Most retailers have stated that they have witnessed negative growth on like for like basis. While the north of India has witnessed growth, many in the east and south of the country have witnessed negative growth with weak consumer demand for discretionary products. Even CDIT (consumer durables and IT) retailers have found the month of January to be challenged for growth,” he added 

Rajagopalan said that many garment retailers have found growth challenging in spite of it being discount season for non-occasion wear garments.

In terms of geographies, retailers in West India clocked a 6 per cent sales growth in January compared to the same period last year. North-based retailers, on an average, saw a growth of 5 per cent, while East India experienced a growth of 3 per cent. Retailers in South India also reported a growth of 5 per cent . 

In terms of categories, QSR, food & grocery, and jewellery reported a growth of 9 per cent each. Sales of the sports goods segment were up by 8 per cent and beauty sales grew by 6 per cent compared to sales levels in January 2023. Furniture and furnishing was up 3 per cent, while apparel and clothing saw a mere 2 per cent increase. Consumer Durables sales declined by 1 per cent.