NEW DELHI: National retail sales increased 7% in December 2021 from December 2019 or pre-pandemic levels, but have slowed sequentially as the spread of covid-19 cases, especially those in the Omicron variant, has resulted in new restrictions in parts of the country, said the Indian Association of Retailers (RAI) in its 23rd edition of the Retail Business Survey.
Several retailers reported a decline in activity towards the end of December.
“Retail trade followed a steady growth path for most of December. However, the pace of growth dropped significantly around the last week of December due to new restrictions imposed in most parts of the country due to the third wave. pandemic, ”said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of the Retailers Association of India (RAI).
Compared to a year ago, business is up 26% across India, RAI said on Tuesday.
The industry body represents large and small scale retailers in grocery, clothing, home furnishings, jewelry, quick service restaurants, among others.
India is seeing a daily increase in covid-19 cases, in what has been called the third wave. This has resulted in state-level restrictions such as nighttime curfews, a ban on large gatherings, schedule restrictions for the opening of non-essential stores as well as the closure of movie theaters and schools. in some towns.
For December, the RAI said that while the overall numbers look positive, the impact was most visible in discretionary spending for categories such as beauty, wellness and personal care, where sales fell by 7 % last month compared to December 2019. Furniture and furnishings retailers reported a 5% decline in activity from pre-pandemic levels.
Food and groceries as well as quick-service restaurants saw growth of 24% and 16% from pre-pandemic levels, respectively. Sales of consumer durables and electronics increased 26%, but fell month over month. Sporting goods retailers grew 14%, while jewelry and shoe retailers grew 9% and 7%, respectively. Meanwhile, clothing and apparel retail sales increased by 2% in the period 2019.
RAI called on the Home Office and the Department of Health and Family Welfare to call on state governments to refrain from imposing restrictions based on the positivity rate and consider hospitalizations as a criterion to determine the severity of the restrictions.
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