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Retail slump continues as sales volumes keep falling

Retail sales for businesses continued to decline in April (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Retail sales continued to fall in April, the ninth time they have been down in the past year, and remain far below pre-pandemic levels in most categories .

According to statistics released today by the Ministry of Economy and Labour, the retail sales index, which tracks the percentage change of retail sales by volume year-on-year, decreased 4.1 per cent compared with April 2022.

The rate was calculated adjusting for retail inflation, which was 5.4 per cent in April.

Retail sales during the month were an estimated $98.3 million, up 1.1 per cent on year.

Declines were reported in four of seven retail categories in terms of sales volume. Declines in sales value were reported in three.

Sales volume for clothing stores increased 11.1 per cent in April compared with the same month last year but the volume is still 24 per cent lower than April 2019 index levels.

Service station sales volume increased 1.1 per cent compared with April 2022, but that was 9 per cent lower than in 2019.

The sales volume for food stores fell by 7.8 per cent — 12.1 per cent below April 2019 numbers — but the sales value was up by 3.4 per cent.

This value increase is the result of the cost of food rising 9.3 per cent from April 2022.

The sales volume for motor vehicle dealers decreased 31.9 per cent from the same month last year and that figure was 10.3 per cent below April 2019 levels.

Liquor store sales volume decreased by 6.2 per cent on year and that was 5.1 per cent lower than April 2019 numbers.

The sales volume for building-material stores declined 9.4 per cent but it was up 26.4 per cent from April 2019.

Sales value for building materials increased 7.8 per cent from April 2022.

For all other retailers – a category that incorporates stores selling pharmaceuticals, household items, electronics, furniture, appliances and tourist-related products — sales volume increased 1.3 per cent from April 2022, but was 11.4 per cent under April 2019 levels.

Declaration of goods from overseas increased 2.2 per cent from April 2022 and 51.1 per cent from April 2019.

Imports via courier decreased $200,000 to $14.3 million from April 2022, but imports by households via sea rose $500,000 to $8.7 million.

Declarations made by returning residents at the airport increased $200,000 to $4.6 million.

Imports via the Bermuda Post Office increased $100,000 to $500,000.

Excluding Sundays, there were 24 shopping days in April 2023, one fewer than in April 2022.

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Published August 23, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated August 23, 2023 at 7:58 am)

Retail slump continues as sales volumes keep falling

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