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Retail sales climb for fifth successive month

Internet shopping: the value of goods being imported by residents spiked in November last year (Graph by Department of Statistics)

Retail sales volume surged 7 per cent in November as local businesses benefited from more on-island spending.

With fewer residents travelling during the pandemic, many retailers have seen a pick-up in sales. November was the fifth consecutive month of increased, year-over-year retail sales.

Four of the seven retail sectors recorded higher sales volumes with building material stores recording the largest volume increase of 13.4 per cent, according to the Department of Statistics’ Retail Sales Index report.

Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “This consistent increase in activity is good news for Bermuda’s economy and many local businesses. These results prove that the Government’s actions taken to stimulate the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic are working.”

In value terms, retail sales rose 7.9 per cent to an estimated $99.3 million. Excluding Sundays, there were 24 shopping days which was the same as November 2019.

There was also a large increase in the value of goods brought in from overseas.

Mr Furbert said: “Total selected overseas declarations increased 28.4 per cent in November 2020 compared to November 2019. The rise in overseas declarations was influenced by greater imports of clothing, printed materials, and pharmaceutical products by courier as well as machinery, appliances, electrical equipment and furniture directly by sea.”

Apparel stores, particularly hard hit by the plunge in the number of toursits visitng the island during the pandemic, saw an 11.9 per cent decrease in sales volume, a 13th consecutive month of double-digit percentage sales decreases.

Building materials stores took 13.4 per cent more at the tills in November than the same month a year earlier. The growth in sales was associated with the contract sales for construction projects and increased inventory available for sale, commentary by the Department of Statistics added.

Food stores’ sales volume increased 7.9 per cent, while liquor stores saw a 10.7 per cent increase. “The higher sales value was attributed partly to the increases in prices for alcohol and food of 3.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively, and due to residents making increased purchases for home dining because of reduced business hours of restaurants and bars,” the report added.

Motor vehicle sellers saw a 1.3 per cent fall in sales volume, while service stations experienced a 1.7 per cent fall, influenced by a 6.7 per cent decrease in the price of fuel during November.

Mr Furbert added: "During these difficult and challenging times for all of us, I would like to thank residents who are playing a key role in supporting local businesses while keeping people employed and aiding our economy.”

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Published February 25, 2021 at 8:21 am (Updated February 25, 2021 at 8:20 am)

Retail sales climb for fifth successive month

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