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Slump continues for retail sales

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Not as busy: service stations’ sales volume decreased 7.3 per cent and was 11.5 per cent below the level in March 2019 (Photograph by David Fox)

The volume of retail sales fell for the fourth straight month to March, down for nine of the 12 months from March 2022.

The Retail Sales Index tracks the annual percentage change of retail sales by volume.

The RSI fell 5.4 per cent year-over-year to March, compared with March 2022, according to figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Economy and Labour.

The rate was determined after adjusting for the retail sales rate of inflation, which was measured at 5.9 per cent in March.

In value terms, retail sales increased to an estimated $101.9 million, which represented a 0.2 per cent rise in sales by value, caused by elevated rates of inflation.

Five of the seven sectors recorded year-over-year volume sales index decreases in March.

The sales volume for building material stores decreased 15.9 per cent. The sales volume for this sector was 6 per cent below the March 2019 pre-pandemic sales level.

In the all other store types sector — comprising stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals and tourist-related goods — there was a 10.8 per cent decrease in sales volume. The sales volume for this sector was 4.1 per cent below the index as of March 2019.

The sales volume for food stores fell 9.7 per cent. Food stores’ sales volume decreased 10.2 per cent compared with March 2019.

Liquor stores’ sales volume fell 2 per cent and was 6.5 per cent higher than in March 2019.

Service stations’ sales volume decreased 7.3 per cent and was 11.5 per cent below the level in March 2019.

Motor vehicle stores’ sales volume rose 21.6 per cent. The sales level was 17.6 per cent above the pre-pandemic sales volume of March 2019.

The sales volume at apparel stores rose 2 per cent and was 12.5 per cent below March 2019.

Overseas declarations increased 11 per cent compared with March 2022.

Overseas declarations were 70.9 per cent higher compared with the pre-pandemic period of March 2019.

Imports via courier increased $2.5 million to $16.6 million owing to the increased importations of optical and surgical equipment, photographic and cinematic equipment as well as clocks and watches.

Imports by households via sea remained the same at $7.9 million.

Declarations at the airport by returning residents increased $0.2 million to $3.2 million.

Imports via the Bermuda Post Office increased $0.1 million to $0.5 million.

Excluding Sundays, there were 27 shopping days, the same as in March 2022.

See Related Media for the March 2023 Retail Sales Index report, or see the link below:


Retail sales volume fell by 5.4 per cent year-over-year in March (File photograph)

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Published July 07, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated July 07, 2023 at 8:08 am)

Slump continues for retail sales

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