Retail’s multiyear declining trend

  • Deeper data: monthly retail sales volume for the past 3˝ years reveal a predominantly declining trend since August 2017 (Table by Scott Neil)

    Deeper data: monthly retail sales volume for the past 3˝ years reveal a predominantly declining trend since August 2017 (Table by Scott Neil)

  • Bigger picture: retail sales are strongest during the summer months and in December. The trend has held for the past 3˝ years, although overall sales volume has slipped since 2017 (Graph by Scott Neil)

    Bigger picture: retail sales are strongest during the summer months and in December. The trend has held for the past 3˝ years, although overall sales volume has slipped since 2017 (Graph by Scott Neil)


Retail sales volume in Bermuda has fallen steadily since 2017.

Data from the past 3˝ years shows there were particularly strong sales from March to August 2017, coinciding with the island hosting the America’s Cup.

However, since then each month has seen year-on-year reductions in the volume of retail stores’ sales, with only two months managing to buck the trend.

A multiyear snapshot shows Bermuda does well in the summer, with May, June and July providing a sustained period of strong sales, while Christmas purchases ensure December is the outright peak month for sales.

Data stretching from January 2016 to July this year shows these trends continuing, but also reveals the volume of sales is sliding.

Sales volume is the sales figure once the effect of inflation has been stripped out.

The Retail Sales Index is a barometer for changes in demand in the retail sector. It is compiled by the Department of Statistics and uses 2015 as its base level, with a value of 100, for measuring shifts in retail sales.

When the monthly sales volume is averaged out for the year, both 2016 and 2017 beat the 2015 base level. But last year the average dropped to 97.5, and this year could be even lower as sales volume for the first seven months, with the exception of July, trail 2018.

The Retail Sales Index is a lagging economic indicator, and tends to be released three months in arrears by the Bermuda Government. At the time of writing, the August data had not been published.

Click on Related Media to see PDF of sales volume table and graph

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Published Dec 3, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 2, 2019 at 7:33 pm)

Retail’s multiyear declining trend

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