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South zone was the least impacted registering a 2% decline, as compared to January 2019

New Delhi, NFAPost: Retail sales in January this year suffered due to the restrictions imposed by states to curb the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) said on Tuesday.

In its latest business survey, RAI said retail sales last month were at 91% of the pre-pandemic sales levels of January 2019, as well as that of January 2020.

In terms of region, the East zone witnessed the biggest drop last month with a 13% decline, as compared to January 2019, followed by West at 11% decline and North with a drop of 8%.

South zone was the least impacted registering a 2% decline, as compared to January 2019, RAI said.

Category-wise, beauty, wellness and personal care was the worst hit with a drop of 24% as compared to January 2019, followed by furniture and furnishing with a drop of 12% and apparel and clothing registering a decline of 7%.

However, the jewellery segment grew 11% in January this year, as compared to the same month in 2019 and quick-service restaurants also witnessed a growth of 9%.

RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said most of the states across the country have allowed retail businesses to be open till late hours, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates decline steadily across the country.

However, he said Delhi and Haryana are still not allowing stores to be open till late, which is creating a big impact on businesses while not helping solve the crowding issue.

“We do hope that Delhi and Haryana take a leaf from states like Maharashtra and allow all formats of retail to be open till late and be in consonance with practices across the country to accelerate the return to normalcy,” Rajagopalan said.

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