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    Retailers hopeful of a cheerful Diwali season

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    Based on the steady month-on-month growth across categories recorded in its monthly surveys since April 2022, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) expects a positive festive season for retail businesses in the country.

    RAI’s business surveys indicate a 19% growth in retail sales across India from April to August 2022 as compared to the same period in 2019 (pre-pandemic). East and North markets have performed better with sales growth at 22% and 20% respectively, while West and South markets have indicated a sales growth at 17% and 16% respectively, from April to August 2022 as compared to the same period before the pandemic (2019).

    The shopping behaviour of consumers in East India during Durga Puja is considered a good indicator of how the season will perform. And so far the signs have been encouraging with consumers stepping out of their homes with their families, said RAI in a statement.

    While categories such as Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) and CDIT/electronic goods, and sports goods continue to show steady growth, categories like garments, beauty & wellness, footwear and jewellery—that were otherwise recording near-pandemic levels of growth in the past four months—have started showing decent improvement.

    Speaking about the festive outlook, RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, “Earlier this year, buying behaviour during occasions, especially the wedding season, was showing an upward trend across income groups. A growth of ~20% to 25% over the pre-pandemic levels (2019) will be the right kind of growth despite inflation.”

    RAI gauges the overall consumer sentiment to be high as a result of a restriction-free festive season after two years. Consumers are not only shopping for themselves but also inquiring about gifting as socialising has picked up. Furthermore, industry reports indicate that airlines, hotels and travel companies are witnessing a sharp increase in bookings. All this will, in turn, boost shopping activity and provide the required tailwind to the retail industry. As per RAI, all the indicators of festive growth are looking positive.