Retail sales fell 6% in June

  • Sales slump: retail sales volume has fallen for 15 of the last 16 months. The June decrease of 6 per cent comes a year after a 9.1 per cent fall for the same month in 2018 (Graph by Scott Neil)

    Sales slump: retail sales volume has fallen for 15 of the last 16 months. The June decrease of 6 per cent comes a year after a 9.1 per cent fall for the same month in 2018 (Graph by Scott Neil)

The volume of retail sales fell in June by 6 per cent in volume when compared to a year ago.

The fall is all the more striking as June 2018 saw the biggest drop in retail sales volume — at 9.1 per cent — of the past four years.

The figures are inflation adjusted. In June the retail sales rate of inflation was 0.7 per cent. It is the fifteenth month out of the last 16 that has seen retail sales fall.

Six of the seven retail sectors recorded lower sales volumes with apparel stores the biggest faller, down 16.8 per cent.

Building material stores recorded a 12.3 per cent contraction in the volume of sales, motor vehicle stores and “all other store types” were both 7.8 per cent lower, while liquor store sales dropped 13.5 per cent, and food sales were down 2.8 per cent.

However, sales at service stations were up 0.5 per cent.

Lorraine Shailer, co-chair of the retail division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures continue to confirm what has been clear for some time now, that the retail industry is certainly struggling. Online shopping, changes in our customers shopping habits, needs and demands, declining population, the high cost of doing business and living in Bermuda are all contributing factors.

“Many retailers realise that there needs to be changes to their retail models in order to survive, but how these changes are made, in an already struggling business are challenging.”

She added: “The conversations that are held at our Retail Division meetings, certainly indicate a want and a determination to survive and keep the 4000 Bermudians that we employ in employment.”

The Retail Sales Index figures released yesterday were produced by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics.

Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, in a statement said: “Imports via courier decreased $300,000 to $11.1 million. Imports by households via sea decreased $700,000 to $800,000 In contrast, declarations by returning residents via the airport rose $300,000 to $4.5 million while imports via the post office remained unchanged at $500,000.”

In value terms, retail sales were down 5.3 per cent at $98.9 million.

UPDATE: this story has been updated to include a comment from the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce.

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Published Oct 9, 2019 at 12:01 am (Updated Oct 9, 2019 at 10:35 am)

Retail sales fell 6% in June

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