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Retail sales up 5.9% in September as online purchases soar

Retail sales rose for a third consecutive month in September (File photograph)

Retail sales volume increased 5.9 per cent in September, when adjusted for the rate of inflation. It was the third consecutive month of rising sales by volume and value.

Overseas online purchases increased substantially. In value terms, imports via courier were up $5.8 million, or 65 per cent, at $14.6 million. Imports by households via sea almost doubled, up $2.4 million to $4.6 million.

Increased online purchases of clothing from overseas retailers impacted the island’s apparel stores, where sales volume fell 17.9 per cent.

In value terms, September’s retail sales were $94.8 million, up 6.6 per cent compared with the same month in 2019.

The retail rate of inflation for the month was 0.7 per cent.

Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “While the restrictions on travel had a significantly limiting impact on local retail activity, they actually substantially boosted selected overseas declarations”.

Motor vehicle stores sales volume was up by 35.8 per cent due to a greater demand for the cars and motorcycles available.

The volume and value of sales for building material stores increased 10.7 per cent. Mr Furbert said the “streamlined processes and policies” implemented by the Government regarding planning applications had seemingly encouraged many building and renovation projects to start early, which had helped local businesses and the economy overall.

Sales volume for the All Other Stores types rose 7.1 per cent. In value terms, sales for this sector increased 8.4 per cent.

Year-over-year, the sales volume of food and liquor stores increased 5.1 and 7.8 per cent, respectively. Retailers attributed these increases to residents travelling less and purchasing more food items and beverages for consumption at home.

The volume of sales for service stations fell 1.3 per cent partly attributed to lost sales during the passage of hurricanes Paulette and Teddy as well as fewer vehicles in transit with residents continuing to work from home.

Limited commercial flights during September resulted in declarations by returning residents falling $3.1 million to $1.4 million. Imports via the Bermuda Post Office remained unchanged at $300,000.

The Retail Sales Index was compiled by the Department of Statistics.

Click on Related Media for a PDF of the Retail Sales Index

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Published January 26, 2021 at 5:36 pm (Updated January 27, 2021 at 8:00 am)

Retail sales up 5.9% in September as online purchases soar

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