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Retail sales volume falls for eighth month

Retail sales volume fell for an eighth successive month last October.

After adjusting for the retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 2.3 per cent in October, the overall volume of retail sales decreased 0.4 per cent, the Department of Statistics reported yesterday.

Three of the seven retail sectors recorded declines in sales volume with apparel stores recording the largest volume decrease of 7.8 per cent, with the slump being put down to lower demand as a result of fewer discounts and sales events.

In contrast, retailers of building material stores recorded the largest increase in sales volume of 9.1 per cent. The report attributed the rise in sales receipts to higher demand for supplies and materials for major construction contracts.

During October, the volume of fuel sales for service stations contracted 6.2 per cent.

The volume of sales for the all other stores sector increased 0.7 per cent. In value terms, the sector recorded a 3.8 per cent rise in sales. Revenue for marine and boat suppliers and retailers of miscellaneous goods both rose 7.3 per cent while sales at pharmacies increased 5.9 per cent.

Sales of furniture, appliances and electronics grew 0.1 per cent when compared to October 2017.

In value terms, retail sales increased 1.9 per cent to an estimated $94.4 million. Returning residents declared overseas purchases valued at $5.4 million, which was 5.9 per cent higher than October 2017.

The volume of sales for food increased marginally by 0.4 per cent. In contrast, the volume of liquor sales declined 1.3 per cent. In value terms, sales at food stores was 2.4 per cent higher while liquor sales increased 1.3 per cent. The rise in the value of sales was attributed partly to the increase in the prices of food and liquor of 2.1 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.

This contributed to a combined local and overseas spending of $99.8 million.

Excluding Sundays, there were 27 shopping days during the month, one more than October 2017.

The October report was much later than normal — for example, on February 15 last year the Department of Communications published the December 2017 retail sales report.

Walton Brown, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, told The Royal Gazette this week that the delay was down to technical reasons.

Slide continues: retail sales fell for an eighth consecutive month in October (File photograph)

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Published February 16, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated February 16, 2019 at 8:10 am)

Retail sales volume falls for eighth month

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