Retail Sales Growth Moderates As Shoppers Spend Cautiously


Retail sales moderated in August indicating that shoppers are still spending frugally, as the economic recovery is not yet robust due to persistent high inflation.

Retail businesses saw a 15% jump in sales compared to August 2019 or the pre-pandemic period, according to the latest business survey by the Retailers Association of India. However, the growth in sales declined from an 18% surge in July.

As compared to the same period last year, retail sales across the country were up 17%.

The growth is visible mostly in east India, which grew 19% over pre-pandemic levels, followed by north (18%), south (18%) and west India (11%), the survey highlighted.

All the four regions have seen growth between 10-25% as compared with the previous year.

“Retailers are indicating that higher price items are selling well, and lower price items are not seeing as much growth, with most items being inflationary,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive officer of the association, which represents both offline and online retailers.

While the upper middle and elite class are shopping, low-income buyers are still not shopping as much, he said.

Hoping the trend will be transient, Rajagopalan expects consumption to get broad-based as the peak festive season kicks in.

Within categories, sports goods showed a strong performance, registering 57% growth over last year, followed by footwear (28%) and beauty and personal care (25%).

Other categories such as furniture and furnishing grew 19%, jewellery grew 22%, quick service restaurants grew 19% and food and grocery grew 21% while clothing and apparel grew 22% over the last year. In comparison with pre-pandemic levels, the sales of sports goods grew 47%, followed by footwear at 27% and QSR at 25%.

Two categories—beauty and personal care, and furniture—grew in single digits compared to August 2019 at 9% each, the survey showed.


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