Retailers take less at the till as car sales plunge 29%
Overall spending fell in January with car sales continuing their double-digit decline.
Retail sales fell by 2.3 percent in the first month of 2012 to $73 million, while retail sales volume, which takes inflation into account, fell 4.9 percent.
Car sales fell by 29.3 percent, the fourth consecutive January sales have dropped for this sector. Sales for the industry declined by 19.3 percent in 2011.
Apparel stores also reported a decline of 2.4 percent in January as did overseas spending, which recorded a 11.8 percent decline over last year. Combined local and overseas spending totaled $77.5 million.
Sales activity increased, however, in three of the seven retail sectors with retailers of building materials reporting the largest gain in sales of 10.7 percent. This marks the fifth consecutive month of higher sales for this sector.
The report states the stronger level of sales was driven by continued demand for building supplies from ongoing commercial construction projects, combined with promotional sales held during the month.
Food and liquor stores reported a 1.7 percent gain in sales and gas stations were up 0.8 percent.
Within the catch-all retail sector, sales revenue declined 4.7 percent compared to January 2011. Tourist-related stores fell 15.7 percent, sales of pharmaceutical products were 4.8 percent lower than the previous year’s level. Similarly, gross sales from furniture, appliance and electronics stores decreased 2.7 percent.
In contrast, retailers of boat and marine supplies reported an 8.9 percent increase in sales during the month.
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