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Retail Sales down by 49% in April: RAI

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The second wave of covid-19 and subsequent restrictions imposed by several states have hurt India’s retailers of apparel, footwear, personal care goods, electronics, and quick-service restaurants with most reporting a significant decline in sales in April 2021 compared with April 2019, according to a monthly survey of retailers by Retailers’ Association of India (RAI).

The survey was conducted among 63 participants pan-India, and covered retailers across product categories.

The survey highlights the pain lockdowns have brought about for retailers across India.

The sharpest decline was seen in retailers of sports goods, which reported a 66% drop in business in April 2021 compared with April 2019, followed by footwear and beauty and wellness retailers. Consumer durables and electronics retailers saw business drop 31% in April—the least among all categories of retailers surveyed.

Retailers in west India, which saw states such as Maharashtra impose a lockdown in several districts in March, reported the steepest decline in business with a 72% drop in April. Retailers in east India reported the least impact on business. Those in north India saw business decline by 45% in April; in south, retailers said business was down 40% in the same period compared with April 2019.

Retailers, both big and small, in parts of west India reported a significant decline in business—those with a reported annual turnover of up to ₹20 crore were down 87% during the period.

Data for May is yet to be released by RAI. Given that more states moved to some form of restrictions in May, retailers could continue to report a significant decline in sales.