Business Bureau :
Retail sales in December last year grew by 7 per cent over the pre-pandemic levels of the same period in 2019 but the pace dropped towards the last week of the month under review due to the third COVID wave, RAI said on Tuesday. In its latest retail business survey, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said the growth witnessed last month is 26 per cent higher as compared to December 2020. “Retail business was on a steady growth trajectory during most of December, however, the pace of growth was seen dropping off significantly towards the last week of December due to the fresh sets of curbs imposed in most parts of the country owing to the third wave of the pandemic,” RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said in a statement.
The impact can be seen at category level with the beauty, wellness and personal care dipping 7 per cent, as compared to the pre-pandemic sales in December 2019, RAI said adding that furniture and furnishings also slipped into the red once again with a decline of 5 per cent. Sales across consumer durables and IT products, sports goods, jewellery, footwear, and apparel and clothing too started to lose steam although these were still in positive territory, it added. RAI said it has appealed to the central government to instruct state governments to refrain from imposing restrictions based on positivity rate and consider hospitalisations as the criteria to determine the severity of restrictions instead as most of the country's population is vaccinated. “Doing so will avoid unnecessary panic among citizens and businesses while minimising the impact on livelihoods,” it added.