The staggered relaxations during the two-month-long nationwide lockdown did not have much of an impact on retail business and their businesses witnessed a severe contraction during the period, according to a survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI).
In a statement, RAI said that the business assessment for three months — March, April and May 2020 — showed severe de-growth in businesses across sectors and regions.
During the stringent lockdown in April and May, retailers lost around 80-90 percent of their last year sales.
The relaxations provided by the government in May were ineffective as retailers across the board continued to lose, as per the survey.
“The survey also revealed that lockdown relaxations have been ineffective in stimulating retail across geographies as all regions have impacted almost the same with degrowth of 76 percent to 81 percent in May 2020 Y-o-Y,” it said.
Large size retailers with sales more than Rs 300 crore in the food and grocery segment witnessed 86 per cent de-growth in business, while the non-food and grocery segment has seen a 75 percent de-growth compared to last year, showed the survey.
Small and medium sized retailers with sales less than Rs 300 crore in the food and grocery segment fared slightly better but still lost 33 percent of their sales in May compared to last year.
Commenting on the findings of the business survey, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, said: “Retailers are amongst the most resilient entrepreneurs of the Indian ecosystem. Despite the lockdown relaxations, retailers are still facing a challenging time to revive their business.”
He added that the impact on retail across the country is of concern and it will take a considerable amount of time for retailers to return to the green.
“We trust the government and other stakeholders will take note of this situation and help in boosting customer sentiment by enabling smooth functioning of retails stores across the nation by addressing state and local level issues,” Rajagopalan said.