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Retail businesses across India reported a 23% jump in April compared to pre-pandemic levels of April 2019, suggesting a strong uptick in consumer demand.

“Compared to the pre-pandemic sales level in April 2019, retail businesses across regions have indicated growth in April 2022. Sales in north India have indicated growth of 32%, while west India has shown growth of 24%, and east India and south India reported growth of 18% each," according to the 27th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI).

Sales across categories continue to indicate steady growth, though the beauty and wellness category is yet to come out of the red with retailers reporting a 1% dip in demand, it said.

Quick service restaurant (QSR) chains reported the sharpest recovery with a 45% jump in April sales compared to April 2019, followed by retailers of electronics, consumer appliances, sports goods, and apparel. Compared to the year-ago period all categories reported a double digital growth, led by QSRs and sports goods retailers.

However, about 10% of the growth reported during the month was on account of inflation, cautioned RAI chief executive officer Kumar Rajagopalan. Consumers are returning to stores but are also facing higher prices of foods and this could hurt consumer demand, he warned. “It is heartening to see that customers are back in stores ... Most categories have shown good performance, but it is important to note that about 10% of this growth can be accounted to inflation," Rajagopalan said.

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