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Aug retail sales touch 88% of pre-pandemic level on festive demand: Survey

Helped by festive demand, retail sales improved in August and reached 88 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels, a survey said on Wednesday.

In July, retail sales stood at 72 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels of July 2019, as per the retail business survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI).

“Retail businesses in the North and the South of India have indicated sales nearing recovery in August 2021 with sales at 98 per cent and 97 per cent respectively, of the pre-pandemic levels (August 2019), as against 78 per cent (North India) and 82 per cent (South India) sales in July 2021,” it said.

Sales in western and eastern markets reached 76 per cent and 81 per cent of pre-pandemic levels (August 2019). The figure stood at 57 per cent and 69 per cent, respectively, in July 2021.

“RAI hopes that the festive season will bring back cheer to the retail industry across sectors and those employed in it,” it added.

Some categories even witnessed growth over the pre-pandemic levels.

Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) sales grew 12 per cent compared to August 2019, while ‘food and groceries’ category clocked a growth of 4 per cent.

“However, Beauty & Wellness, which includes Salons, Apparel, Footwear and Jewellery are yet to catch up to the pre-pandemic levels of sales. The overall industry sentiment will improve when clothing and accessories category shows growth,” it said.

RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said he is hopeful that festive shopping this year will drive growth for most retailers, with the possibility of some retailers doing better sales than the pre-pandemic levels.

“Though recovery at the moment looks encouraging across categories, retailers continue to maintain cautious optimism due to the possibility of a third wave of the pandemic,” it said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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