With record numbers of new Covid-19 cases each day across India, local governments are continuing to implement or extend restrictions in order to try and slow the spread of the virus.
Delhi’s government, for example, has decided to extend its current lockdown (which was originally meant to last for six-days) by an additional week, to May 3.
This extension is expected to hit retailers hard. According to Kumar Rajagopalan, chief executive of the Retailers’ Association of India (RAI), a total ban on delivery of non-essential goods is already causing havoc. “This is now making it impossible for retailers to survive as they are unable to meet even their fixed expenses,” he was quoted as saying in a Business Standard report.
According to RAI, restrictions and localised lockdowns in cities across India are costing the industry 50 percent of its overall business.
This second wave of infections is expected to delay the industry’s recovery to pre-pandemic levels until fiscal year 2023, which begins April 22, 2022, domestic rating agency ICRA estimates. Retail will see revenue growth of 23 to 25 percent from a low base for the rest of this year, but that won’t be enough to get business back to pre-Covid levels, the agency said in a report.