Cities in southern and northern India have shown better recovery, with sales nearing pre-covid levels in February but down 6% and 9%, respectively, YoY. Retail sales in west were down 16% in February
NEW DELHI: Indian retailers are finally seeing recovery in segments such as quick service restaurants (QSR) and electronics chains as mobility normalises and consumer spends on certain categories pick pace.
"The quantum of de-growth in retail sales reduced as most segments in retail have started to show significant improvement," Retailers Association of India (RAI) said in its 13th edition of the Retail Business Survey released Tuesday.
RAI said retailers could look at reaching pre-covid numbers in the first six months of the current year, albeit if India’s covid graph does not show a steep rise.
Sales in February were down 7% year-on-year, having declined 18% in the October-December quarter. It must, however, be noted that covid-related restrictions were just about beginning to emerge in certain cities in February last year and India moved to a full lockdown later in March.
In fact, electronics retailers and QSR chains reported growth in February compared to a year ago period. Fast food chains have gained as consumers shift to known brands and diners gradually return to restaurants.
“Consumer durables and quick service restaurants (QSR) categories have shown positive growth of 15% and 18% (y-o-y) respectively in the month of February 2021. Categories like footwear, beauty, wellness and personal care, sports goods and food and grocery are showing steady month-on-month recovery on a year-on-year comparison, signalling growth from the month of March 2021," the report said.
Recovery in retail was led by pockets in eastern India. Cities in southern and northern India have shown better recovery, with sales nearing pre-covid levels in February but down 6% and 9%, respectively, compared to a year ago period. Retail sales in western India, however, were down 16% on year in February, with Maharashtra seeing a resurgence in covid infections.
“It is heartening to see recovery across categories. We hope that the uncertainty regarding the rising cases of covid-19 in a few states will not cast its shadow on the growth momentum with the rollout of the vaccine," said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI).