Mixed December for retailers
Overall consumer spending fell by 0.8 percent in December, with vehicle sales plummeting 34 percent.
According to the Bermuda’s Retail Sales Index, December’s retail sales totalled $105.7 million, $0.9 million less than in December 2010. After inflation is taken into account, sales volume was down by 3.9 percent.
The report stated that 2011 was the fourth successive year in which year-on-year sales volume fell.
Spending was also down by about $30 million for the full year 2011 to $1.01 billion, compared to $1.04 billion in 2010, representing a fall of three percent.
But there was evidence that several sectors had a better holiday shopping period than a year earlier, as sales activity increased in five of the seven retail sectors for December.
Building material suppliers reported the largest gain in sales of 26.7 percent during the month. The increase has been attributed to promotional sales and demand for building supplies for both residential and on-going commercial construction projects.
Service stations, apparel stores as well as food and liquor stores all saw moderate increases, edging up 1.6 percent, 2.4 percent, and 2.7 percent, respectively.
Within the catch-all retail sector, tourist-related stores recorded a drop in sales of 9.5 percent, pharmaceutical products fell by 6.7 percent and boat and marine supplies edged down 0.5 percent.
Residents returning to the Island declared overseas purchases of goods valued at $6.1 million during December 2011, representing a 23.8 percent decrease from the $8 million declared in December 2010. Combined local and overseas spending totalled $111.8 million.