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Building materials stores lead sales growth

Upward trend: February retail sales values since 2013 (Graph by the Department of Statistics)

Retail sales rose by 2.5 per cent in February compared to the same month last year, boosted by an increase in building materials demand.

After inflation was taken into account, volume rose 0.2 per cent for a second successive month of real growth after January’s 1 per cent increase.

Building materials stores saw the largest sales volume increase, with a 13.1 per cent rise, as a result of higher demand for supplies for ongoing residential and commercial projects.

In value terms, retail sales rose 2.5 per cent year over year to $81.6 million.

In addition, returning residents declared overseas purchases valued at $3.3 million, which was 6.5 per cent higher than February 2017, fuelled by higher declarations of clothes and footwear.

Apparel stores saw sales volume rise 2.4 per cent in February, while service stations saw a 0.1 per cent volume increase, as the value of fuel sales grew 4.8 per cent, while the price of fuel rose 4.7 per cent.

Sales volume in liquor stores fell 4.8 per cent and in food stores fell 1.6 per cent.

Motor vehicle sellers recorded 3.6 per cent decline in sales volume.

Excluding Sundays, there were 24 shopping days during the month, the same as in February 2017.