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March retail sales continue downward spiral

For the ninth consecutive month, the Retail Sales Index has tumbled, a period stretching through to March this year from as far back as the summer of 2021.

The Ministry of Economy and Labour has just released the 2022 Retail Sales Index, with comparative information for the year to March 2022.

March’s retail sales fell 8.0 per cent compared with last year. In value terms, retail sales decreased 4.5 per cent compared with the previous year (March 2021) to an estimated $100.1 million.

Compared with the pre-pandemic period of March 2019, volume sales were higher by 1.3 per cent, with three sectors experiencing growth in March 2022.

Sales at food stores decreased 12.2 per cent. An article in The Royal Gazette has already highlighted drastic action being taken by the public to keep pace with rising prices.

This newspaper reported earlier this month that some one in three residents felt forced to buy less food and almost a fifth are choosing less healthy options owing to rising prices, according to a new survey by Narrative Research Bermuda

Meanwhile, the government report shows that even liquor stores’ sales fell 22.5 per cent. Compared with pre-pandemic sales in 2019, food stores registered a 5.1 per cent decline, while sales for liquor stores were 8.8 per cent higher.

Motor vehicle stores’ sales fell 29.7 per cent due to a decrease in the inventory of automobiles available for sale.

This sales level was 3.1 per cent below the sales volume in March 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Building material stores’ sales grew 8.3 per cent due to higher demand for building material goods to support contract projects.

The sales volume for this sector was 12.4 per cent above the 2019 sales level.

Sales at apparel stores increased 8.0 per cent, reflecting increased purchases of men’s apparel and clothing accessories. However, the sales level remained 14.2 per cent below pre-pandemic sales in 2019.

Service stations’ volume sales increased 2.9 per cent from last year but were 4.4 per cent lower than pre-pandemic sales in 2019.

All other sectors experienced declines in sales volume compared with the previous year.

In the all other store types sector (comprising stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals and tourist-related goods), there was a 6.9 per cent decrease due to lower sales of pharmaceuticals and marine supplies.

Sales for this sector registered 9.0 per cent above the sales volume in 2019.

Overseas declarations increased 6.3 per cent compared with March 2021, influenced primarily by increased imports of machinery and equipment by residents via courier.

The public can review the March 2022 Retail Sales Index report at https://www.gov.bm/retail-sales-index-rsi.

Retail strain: sales volume fell 8 per cent for the year to March (File photograph)

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Published June 24, 2022 at 8:30 am (Updated June 25, 2022 at 7:58 am)

March retail sales continue downward spiral

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