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Retail sales rise 7.9% in October

Retail sales volume increased by 7.9 per cent in October year-over-year, marking the fourth consecutive month of rising sales for a sector of the economy hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This compares to the previous year’s local retail sales which reported a volume decrease of 3.6 per cent for October 2019.

The October 2020 figure has been adjusted for the retail sales rate of inflation, which was measured at 0.8 per cent in October.

The growth was attributed mostly to increased spending on-island by residents.

Wayne Furbert, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “This consistent increase in activity is good news for Bermuda’s economy, and many local businesses.”

In value terms, retail sales rose 8.8 per cent in October to an estimated $99.5 million.

Six of the seven retail sectors recorded higher sales volumes with motor vehicle stores recording the largest volume increase at 21.2 per cent, mostly due to an increase in the number of cars sold.

The value of sales receipts in the motor vehicle stores sector increased 19.2 per cent when compared to October 2019.

Year-over-year, imports by courier increased $3.3 million to $14.7 million due to more imports of clothing, footwear and vehicle parts.

Imports by households via sea rose by $4 million to $5.5 million as a result of higher imports of furniture and medicaments.

The limited number of commercial flights in October resulted in declarations by returning residents falling by $3.7 million to $1.4 million.

Imports via the Bermuda Post Office decreased by $100,000 to $400,000.

During October 2020, sales volume for the all other stores types sector rose by 9.5 per cent. The sector comprises a variety of stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals, marine supplies and tourist-related goods.

In value terms, sales for this sector increased by 11.7 per cent.

The value of sales for marine and boat supplies was up 36.4 per cent, while the value of sales of furniture, appliances and electronics grew 19.2 per cent and the sales value for pharmacies rose 7.6 per cent due mostly to growth in prescription pharmaceutical sales. In contrast, gross receipts from the sale of miscellaneous goods decreased 3.8 per cent.

Year-over-year, the sales volume of food and liquor stores increased 7.2 and 17.7 per cent, respectively.

In value terms, the sales value for food stores rose 11.5 per cent, while liquor stores rose 20.7 per cent.

The higher sales value was attributed partly to the increase in prices for food and alcohol of 3.6 per cent and 2.6 per cent, respectively, as well as more on-island spending by residents.

The volume of sales for building material stores increased 5.1 per cent. In value terms, sales revenue increased 5.2 per cent when compared to October 2019. The growth in sales was associated mostly with contract sales for construction projects.

Service stations’ sales volume increased 0.1 per cent year-over-year. The value of sales for service stations declined 7.6 per cent, influenced by a 7.7 per cent decrease in the price of fuel during October 2020.

Sales volume for apparel stores decreased 11.9 per cent in October due partly to increased online purchases of clothing from overseas retailers and lack of resident and tourist purchases. In value terms, sales for apparel stores fell 11.1 per cent.

Mr Furbert added: “I would like to thank the residents of Bermuda for playing a key role in revitalising retail sales, as I recognise that many residents are not travelling and spending some of their earnings in Bermuda.

“In addition, the Government’s continued commitment to remove unnecessary red tape is bearing benefits which are visible and measurable within these recent statistics from our local economy.”

Excluding Sundays, there were 27 shopping days which was the same as in October 2019.

Click on Related Media to view the Retail Sales Index PDF

Retail sales: the overall volume of retail sales increased 7.9 per cent in October year-over-year (File photograph)

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Published February 12, 2021 at 5:05 pm (Updated February 12, 2021 at 5:05 pm)

Retail sales rise 7.9% in October

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