July retail sales edge higher
Retail sales rose in July on the back of pent-up demand for construction materials and a spike in boat purchases.
After adjusting for inflation, retail sales volume was up 1.5 per cent from July 2019. In value terms consumers spent an estimated $105.8 million, the highest monthly total recorded in the Retail Sales Index in more than a year.
Building supplies sales volume climbed 13 per cent. In its commentary, the Department of Statistics attributed the jump to higher demand for construction supplies for residential projects that could not be carried out during shelter-in-place.
The impact of fewer residents travelling during the height of the summer holidays was evident in the figures.
Food stores took in 5.7 per cent more at the tills than they did a year earlier, while liquor stores’ takings rose 15.1 per cent.
Sales for marine and boat suppliers soared 59.7 per cent as boat sales increased.
Furniture, appliances and electronics sales surged 27 per cent as residents spent more on items for the home.
Gross receipts of miscellaneous goods suppliers plunged 42.2 per cent, reflecting lower sales in tourism-related stores.
Sales revenue at the island’s apparel stores dived 21.7 per cent, the twelfth successive month of double-digit declines for the sector.
However, an increase in clothes purchases from overseas was flagged as a driver of the $1.1 million rise in imports via courier, to a total of $15.6 million. Imports by household via sea also rose $1.1 million to $3.3 million.
Service stations suffered an 8.7 per cent dip in sales, reflecting an 11.3 per cent fall in the price of fuel, while sales volume for motor vehicle sellers dipped 0.8 per cent.