Jump in car purchases drives retail sales up 9.2 per cent in August
Retail sales jumped 9.2 per cent in volume in August, after adjusting for retail inflation of 0.7 per cent that month.
In value terms, retail sales increased year-over-year was about $9 million, or 10.1 per cent. Apparel stores reported a 28.4 per cent fall in sales volume for the month, compared to the same period last year.
Five of the seven retail sectors improved. There was a 43 per cent increase in sales of motor vehicles after declines were recorded in 11 of the perevious 12 months. The trend of rising overseas purchases continued, with imports via courier up $3.4 million year-over-year to $13.8 million.
Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “The retail sales growth in August provided some encouraging signs, and that’s good for Bermuda’s economy. We saw significant increases across the board in several retail sectors, and that’s extremely important considering our challenges due to Covid-19. It’s encouraging because residents are doing their part to support local jobs and our local economy.”
Mr Furbert said restrictions on residents being able to travel, meant that many goods and services were purchased on island. He added: “Additionally, Government revised policies by reducing red-tape to support local businesses and the local economy. A streamlined planning process means planning approvals and building permits are being issued more frequently. This change is now bearing fruit with an increase in building projects and an increase in sales by building materials suppliers.”
The Retail Sales Index showed the volume and value of sales for building material stores increased 12 per cent, due to the higher demand for supplies related to home improvement projects.
Sales in the “all other stores types” sector rose 12.2 per cent. Marine and boat suppliers had a 78.1 per cent increase, and there were higher volume of sales locally for furniture, appliances and electronics. The sales value for pharmacies increased 5.4 per cent, but gross receipts of miscellaneous goods decreased 30.6 per cent due to less spending in tourist-related stores.
Mr Furbert said: “While the numbers were encouraging in certain sectors, we do recognise that there were still some areas that had lacklustre growth. For instance, sales of tourist-related goods were lower as there were fewer visitors on the Island during the month.”
Food and liquor stores saw sales volumes rise 10.8 per cent and 9.8 per cent, respectively. Service stations sales fell 0.8 per cent year-over-year.
Imports by households via sea rose $2.6 million to $4.2 million, year-over-year, as a result of higher imports of clothing and jewellery. Limited commercial flights during August resulted in declarations by returning residents falling $5 million to $1.6 million. Imports via the Bermuda Post Office declined $200,000 to $100,000.
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