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Retail sales fall for first time in a year

Less spending: Retail sales were down during May in terms of value and volume

For the first time in 12 months retail sales have fallen year-on-year in both value and volume.

During May the value of sales decreased 1.4 per cent below the $97.9 million recorded in the same month in 2015.

After adjusting for the annual retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 1.4 per cent in May, the volume of retail sales decreased 3 per cent.

Apparel stores registered the largest loss in sales receipts of 7.3 per cent, reflecting lower demand among locals and tourists.

Tourist-related stores reported a 3.5 per cent decline in sales, while sales of furniture, appliances and electronics fell 3.3 per cent.

Marine and boat suppliers saw receipts drop 36.6 per cent due to less inventory available for sale and fewer sales of big-ticket items.

Meanwhile, motor vehicle stores recorded the largest increase in sales of 13 per cent, with higher demand for cars, while cycle sales decreased.

Four of the seven sectors experienced decreases in sales revenue.

Building material stores saw a 4.2 per cent year-on-year increase in receipts, although when adjusted for inflation the sales volume was 1.9 per cent lower.

Returning residents declared overseas purchases valued at $5.4 million, which was 3.6 per cent lower than in May 2015. This contributed to a combined local and overseas spending of $101.9 million. The total value of on-island retail sales in May was $96.5 million.

The Retail Sales Index figures were compiled by the Bermuda Government’s Department of Statistics.