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Retail sales decline 79% in May over pre-COVID levels in 2019, says report

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Among various categories within the retail sector beauty, wellness and personal care saw the steepest decline at 87 percent, followed by footwear with a dip of 86 percent.

Retail sales decline 79% in May over pre-COVID levels in 2019, says report
Retail sales in India fell by 79 percent last month compared to May 2019, revealed a survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI). The decline in business, that came amid the closure of the country following the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic was at the steepest in Western and Northern India.
As per the report, the north and western regions of the country witnessed an 83 percent dip last month as compared to May 2019. Eastern region saw a decline of 75 percent, while South was relatively better with degrowth of 73 percent, the report added.
The May decline was much steeper compared to the previous month, when overall sales across India were down 49 percent as compared to April 2019, according to the RAI survey.
Among various categories within the retail sector beauty, wellness and personal care saw the steepest decline at 87 percent, followed by footwear with a dip of 86 percent.
The food and grocery sector performed comparatively better with a decline of 34 percent, while the quick service restaurants witnessed a dip of 70 percent.
However, the retailers are optimistic about future recovery given the general environment in the country."Retailers are looking forward to some improvement in the month of June with gradual unlocking. However, the retail industry needs the collective support of various government bodies to tide over the present situation," RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said.
However, the retail body added that there is a need for collaborative efforts by various stakeholders to ease the burden on the people involved in the category given the continued financial pressures faced by them on various fronts such as salaries, rentals, electricity charges and various taxes and license fees, among others, due to the pandemic-induced restrictions.
-with agency inputs