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July 2021 Retail Sales At 72% Of Pre-Pandemic Levels: Report

Retailers pin hope on the upcoming festive season, says the Retailers Association of India

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The 18th edition of the Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) indicates that retail sales in July 2021 were at 72% of the pre-pandemic levels (July 2019), as against 50% in June 2021.

Retail businesses in the South of India have indicated a very sharp comeback in July 2021 with sales at 82% of the pre-pandemic levels (July 2019), as against 50% sales in June 2021. West of India is yet to improve and has indicated sales at 57% of pre-pandemic levels (July 2019) against 50% in June 2019. This is mainly because of prolonged curbs in Maharashtra that disrupted the smooth functioning of modern retail in the State.

In categories, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) recovered the best in July 2021 with sales at 97% of the pre-pandemic levels (July 2019). However, Beauty & Wellness, which includes Salons, is still at 50% of pre-pandemic sales, while Apparel is at 63% sales of the pre-pandemic levels in July 2021.

Speaking about the outlook of the Retail industry in India, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “There is a possibility of significant sales recovery for retail businesses as the festive season approaches, provided restrictions on modern retail are relaxed across the country allowing smooth operations and return to normalcy.”

Retail is the fastest growing sector in terms of employment generation and is second only to agriculture in terms of the number of people it directly employs, besides creating indirect employment opportunities. Opening up of retail will give businesses a chance at recovery, saving the livelihood of millions who are dependent on the retail ecosystem.