Retail sales in September this year were at 96 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels of the same month in 2019 as the sector shows signs of recovery, Retailers Association of India (RAI) said.

As compared to September 2020, there was a 26 per cent growth in sales last month, led by strong growth in South India at 33 per cent, followed by East at 30 per cent, and 26 per cent in West. North India also registered a growth of 16 per cent, according to RAI’s Business Survey- Round 20.

“Retail businesses across regions are nearing recovery indicating consumer sentiments are positive across the country. Category wise, consumer durables and electronics; food and groceries and quick service restaurants (QSR) have fully recovered and are indicating double digit growth on pre-pandemic levels,” RAI said.

“Sports goods and apparel, and clothing have also started to pick up pace as socialising and offices resume and some level of normalcy returns,” RAI added, however, adding categories such as beauty and wellness which include salons, footwear and jewellery are yet to catch up to the pre-pandemic levels of sales.

Commenting on the development, RAI Chief Executive Officer Kumar Rajagopalan said the Retail sector has started showing signs of recovery with businesses indicating sales that are almost equal to the pre-pandemic levels.

“With consumer sentiments looking up, Dussehra and Diwali could well be the turnaround time for retail businesses, provided there is no third wave of the pandemic,” he added.