Malls witnessed 77 per cent degrowth while high street retail showed a decline of 61 per cent in business in the first half of June, as compared to the same period last year, with consumer sentiment remaining low even after lockdown relaxations, according to a report. As per the survey conducted by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) with participation of more than 100 big and small retailers, it was found that lockdown relaxations did not benefit retailers as there was no significant surge in their business.
After lockdown guidelines were relaxed in early June, most states permitted malls and high street retailers to reopen after a gap of more than 70 days.
"However, it was found that consumer sentiment continues to be at a low. This is consistent with findings of a recent consumer survey by RAI which revealed that 4 out of 5 Indian consumers would reduce shopping expenditure post the lockdown," the retailers' body said in a statement.
The sentiment was reflected in categories like quick service restaurant (QSR) and restaurants (dip of 70 per cent), followed by apparel and clothing (69 per cent decline), and jewellery, watches and other personal accessories (65 per cent decrease), it added.
RAI said although retail is slowly opening up, the relaxations in restrictions are not uniform across states. A lot of retail still remains closed, which is hurting businesses and as a result, the economy.
"The survey uncovers the urgent need for opening all forms of retail so India can start its journey back towards recovery," it added.
RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, "While we appreciate the Centre's intent to restart the economy and open up retail with detailed guidelines under the Unlock 1.0 phase, it is important for states to embrace the mandate and ensure smooth and regular opening of all forms of retail."
"We hope that in the coming days, restrictions across states will ease in a uniform manner, which is crucial for consumption to pick up," he added.
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