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June overseas spending up $10m since 2017

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Foot traffic needed: Retailers are hoping for more street activity and store visitors to get their cash registers ringing (Photograph by David Fox)

Twelve years after government sought to arrest the decline in retail sales, the ‘Buy Bermuda’ campaign may be in jeopardy.

Alarmingly in 2010, government reported how resident purchases overseas increased by a whopping 14 per cent per cent in June 2010 compared to the previous year. Overseas purchases totalled $5.7 million for that month, the report said.

By November of that year, authorities, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, had launched the Buy Bermuda campaign with funding put through the Bermuda Small Business Development Corporation.

It is not exactly clear how that $5.7 million compares to today, as counting measures were changed in 2019, and the broad metric of ‘selected overseas purchases’ is used with an added breakdown.

But the latest figures for ‘selected overseas purchases’ representing June 2022 show that number is rising (see chart). And compared to the only overseas sales number released in June 2010, it is more than $22 million higher for that month alone.

The report released Friday night shows this June’s selected overseas declaration value had mushroomed to $27.8 million – up more than $10 million since just 2017.

After adjusting for inflation, the overall volume of retail sales in June decreased by 4.3 per cent, when compared to June 2021. Liquor store sales was the only sector that recorded growth during the 2022 month of June.

Retail sales rose to a value of $106 million, a 0.4 per cent increase although it is discounted by inflation which primarily affected sales of food, clothing and fuel, the report said.

With regard to shoppers’ overseas purchases, the statement reads: “Imports via courier increased $2.0 million to $15.6 million due to larger imports of jewellery and clothing. Imports by households via sea dropped $0.7 million to $8.3 million as a result of lower imports of electrical machinery and equipment.

“Declarations at the airport by returning residents grew $0.7 million to $3.4 million as more residents have been travelling. Imports via the post office remained the same at $0.5 million.

Government said that sales volume for local apparel stores fell more than 20 per cent below the pre-pandemic numbers of June 2019, as travel restrictions were relaxed and more people travelled and shopped overseas.

Overseas declarations increased 7.8 per cent compared to June 2021 and were 64.5 per cent over the pre-pandemic period.

Retail clouds: Shop owners are hoping for more street activity and store visitors to get their cash registers ringing (Photograph by David Fox)

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Published September 20, 2022 at 7:25 am (Updated September 20, 2022 at 7:25 am)

June overseas spending up $10m since 2017

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