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New Delhi: Retail sales in India rose 24% in May compared to the levels seen in 2019, indicating a sharp recovery in consumer demand across India. Recovery was led by a sharp improvement in mobility, more people resuming work from office and the opening up of schools among other factors.

Quick service restaurants continued to lead demand, reporting a 42% jump in sales during the month compared to 2019 levels; footwear retailers followed with a 30% surge in sales, according to the findings of the 28th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI). RAI tracks retail sales pan-India tracking both large and mid-sized retailers.

Compared to the pre-pandemic sales level in May 2019, retail businesses across regions reported growth in May 2022.

Sales in west India grew 30%, while retailers in east India reported 29% growth in business. South India region reported a 22% growth, and retailers in north India grew 16% in May over 2019 levels.

“Sales across categories continue to indicate steady growth. With outdoor activities picking up, categories such as Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and Footwear are indicating rapid growth and categories such as Beauty and Wellness have also started to show positive growth," RAI said in its findings.

“It is encouraging to see a steady improvement in sales with 23% growth in April and 24% in May as compared to the pre-pandemic levels. Categories such as garments and footwear have begun to do well on account of the ongoing wedding season and due to the resumption of work from office," said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, said. Rajagopalan also flagged concerns around inflation that he said continue to exist. This could potentially hurt demand for discretionary products.

“However, as of now, customers are willing to come out and shop as socialising is now picking up pace," he added.

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