Retail sales drop 1.8%
Retail sales fell 1.8 percent or by $1.3 million in February as people bought less in all sectors with the exception of food stores which recorded a 3.9 percent rise in their sales.
Retailers of building materials reported the largest decline in sales of 19.2 percent for the month, a Department of Statistics release said.
Residents returning to the Island declared overseas purchases valued at $3.4 million during February. This was 3 percent more than the $3.3 million declared in February 2012. Combined local and overseas spending totalled $73.6 million.
After adjusting for the annual retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 2.5 percent in February 2013, the volume of retail sales fell by 5.6 percent, Statistics said.
There were 24 shopping days during the month, one less than in February 2012.
The drop comes as January saw a 3.1 percent rise in retail sales and several months of increases up until December when sales fell 1.6 percent.
Gross receipts earned by retailers of building materials fell 19.2 percent during February, Statistics said. The decline was due to the decrease in sales for home improvements and the completion of large contract sales associated with major commercial construction projects.
Motor vehicle sellers recorded a 15.6 percent decrease in sales revenue. Retailers attributed this decline to a lower volume of vehicles sold. There were 13 fewer cars and 5 fewer motorcycles sold in February 2013 compared to February 2012.
Meanwhile, sales receipts for service stations declined 4.1 percent. This outcome partly reflected lower fuel sales due to a 6.4 percent rise in the price of gasoline.
Sales within the all other store types sector abated 1.9 percent. Gross receipts for tourist-related stores fell 9.2 percent while the sales of furniture, appliances and electronics declined 3.6 percent year-over-year. However, retailers of boat and marine supplies reported a 26.9 percent jump in sales. Additionally, sales of pharmaceutical products were 1.8 percent higher than the previous year’s levels.
Sales revenue for apparel stores decreased 1.7 percent during February. Retailers attributed this decline to lower demand resulting from the absence of discount sale events compared to 2012.
Receipts from food sales rose 3.9 percent compared to February 2012. In contrast, liquor stores reported a 2.7 percent decline in gross receipts during the same period.
And residents declared 3.4 million or 3.4 percent more in overseas purchases than in February 2012. Increased expenditure outlays on electronics and photographic equipment, and computer hardware contributed to the rise in the total value of declarations in February.
This outcome may have been partly due to the new HM Customs Green/Red channel system for declaring goods at the airport introduced in November 2012.
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