Home >Industry >Retail >Retail sales slump in June, consumer durables mark steady recovery

New Delhi: Retailers in malls reported a 77% year-on-year decline in business in the last fortnight of June, while those in high streets saw business decline 62%, according to findings of a survey of over 100 large and small retailers, conducted by by Retailers' Association of India (RAI) between 15 June and 30 June.

Interestingly, Indians stuck at home rushed to buy consumer electronics in June, helping the category register a quicker recovery compared to the previous months, and in comparison to sales of fast food, apparel, footwear and jewellery.

In all, sales were down 67% year-on-year during 15-30 June as India moved towards unlocking the economy, with malls in some parts of the country also allowed to resume business with caution.

"Retailers witnessed 67% degrowth from June 15 to June 30 compared to the corresponding period last year. During the same time frame, malls witnessed 77% degrowth (y-o-y) on account of not being allowed to open uniformly across the country, high street retail showed degrowth of 62% (y-o-y) in business despite being allowed to open across India," RAI said in its third business survey on Tuesday.

RAI represents several large and small retailers across India.

“Although the quantum of degrowth marginally reduced in June 2020, the first quarter of FY21 continued to witness degrowth of -74%. The figures depict a grim situation for not just retailers but the entire economy as retail is the backbone of consumption," said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.

In April, business for retailers had slumped 83% year-on-year, while in May, retail sales fell 71%.

A few categories such as food and grocery, consumer durables and furniture indicate signs of recovery, the survey found.

As in previous months, restaurants and QSRs, that rely on high footfalls, reported the biggest slump in business in the second half of June, with business declining 71% year-on-year, followed by the beauty and wellness category.

Surprisingly, when most businesses reported 65-70% slump in sales, consumer electronics fell 19% indicating a strong demand for home appliances as people continue to remain locked at home.

“As work from home continues in several places across the country even as we move further into unlock, it has reflected into a faster recovery for consumer durables (-19% y-o-y), followed by furniture and furnishing (-44% y-o-y) and food and grocery (-40% y-o-y) in June 2020 compared to June 2019. High street retail stores are leading this recovery across these categories, while business in malls continues to be in deep red," RAI said.

Demand improved in east and southern India, while retailers in west and northern India reported a continued slump in business.

RAI said retailers will likely see some normalcy in the second quarter of this fiscal. "With Unlock 2.0 on the cards in the next few days and several sectors opening up, retail can hope for a revival of consumption and signs of recovery at least in the second quarter of the year."

The association has called for a uniform opening of businesses across India.

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