Home / Industry / Retail /  Third wave hits retail sales in January: Survey

New Delhi: With fresh curbs in place amid the third wave of covid-19 infections in January 2022, retail sales were at 91% of pre-pandemic or January 2019 sales levels reflecting a pause in recovery for small and large retailers pan-India.

Retail sales in January 2022 suffered due to the restrictions imposed by states in an attempt to curb the third wave of the pandemic, according to the 24th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) released on Tuesday.

Partial restrictions imposed in key markets of Delhi, Haryana as well as part of Karnataka adversely affected categories such as beauty, wellness and personal care sales of which were down 24% compared to January 2019; while sales of the furniture and furnishings products dipped 12%. Meanwhile, apparel and clothing retailers reported a 7% dip in sales, while demand for footwear was down 4% compared to pre-pandemic levels or January 2020. Other categories that were on a steady growth trajectory such as consumer durables and IT products too reported a dip in sales growth rate, according to the findings of the survey.

While some of the states allowed for retail to function with fewer limitations responding to the decline in the number of hospitalisations, others like Delhi and Haryana continued with heavy restrictions. Delhi continues to observe a night curfew.

“The only real worry is Delhi and Haryana that are still not allowing stores to be open till late, and this is creating a big impact on businesses while not helping solve the crowding issue. The restrictions continue to remain in place despite assurances from authorities about lifting the same. We do hope that Delhi and Haryana take a leaf from states like Maharashtra and allow all formats of retail to be open till late and be in consonance with practices across the country to accelerate the return to normalcy," said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that retail businesses across regions reported a dip in sales in January with sales in South India at 98% of the pre-pandemic levels, North India at 92%, West India at 89% and East India at 87% of pre-pandemic levels or January 2019.

Rajagopalan said states like Maharashtra have been prompt in their response to the current wave and balanced both lives and livelihoods.

“Maharashtra has gone ahead and lifted most of the restrictions allowing stores and retail establishments to remain open for longer hours realising that shorter hours create crowds. This aids business recovery while restoring a feeling of normalcy," he said.


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