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Retail sales increase for eighth consecutive month

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High liquidity: Liquor sales ran well ahead of other sectors in February
Staying positive: retail sales volume in February increased 4.5 per cent, compared with the same month last year (Graph by Bill Zuill)

Retail sales volume in Bermuda increased by 4.5 per cent in February as local businesses continued to benefit from a bump in on-island spending by residents.

This compares to the previous year’s local retail sales, which reported a volume increase of 2.2 per cent.

February was the eighth consecutive month of increased, year-over-year retail sales. The retail sales rate of inflation for the month was 1.2 per cent.

In value terms, retail sales rose 5.8 per cent in February to an estimated $87.5 million.

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

He added: “This glimmer of hope has truly helped local businesses and the economy overall.

“And I would like to thank residents once again, who during these challenging times, are playing a key role in supporting local businesses, keeping people employed and aiding our economy.”

Five of the seven retail sales sectors recorded higher sales volumes with liquor stores recording the largest volume increase of 20.4 per cent, according to the Department of Statistics’ Retail Sales Index report.

In February 2020, sales volume for liquor stores decreased by 3.9 per cent.

The sales volume of food stores increased by 4.1 per cent in the month.

In value terms, sales for liquor stores rose 22.8 per cent while food stores rose 5.5 per cent.

The growth in sales was attributed to an increase in residents dining from home.

Sales at building material stores increased 14.7 per cent in both volume and value terms. Increased demand for home improvement and large customer projects continued to impact the rise in sales.

The all other store types sector comprises a variety of stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals, marine supplies and tourist-related goods.

This sector showed an 8.9 per cent increase in February this year compared to a 3 per cent increase in 2020.

In value terms, sales for this sector increased by 11.2 per cent.

Sales for marine and boat suppliers rose substantially due to increased sales of boats and boat supplies.

The sales value of furniture, appliances and electronics grew 12.6 per cent due to residents purchasing more of these items locally versus overseas.

Gross receipts from the sale of miscellaneous goods increased 25.3 per cent due mostly to a rise in jewellery sales.

The sales value for pharmacies fell 2.7 per cent.

Sales volume for apparel stores increased 5 per cent in February compared to a 16 per cent decrease in 2020.

In value terms, sales for apparel stores rose by 6.4 per cent.

The sales performance among apparel retailers was mixed.

Retailers that reported increased sales attributed this growth to residents choosing to purchase locally due to less overseas travel.

In contrast, other retailers experienced declines in local sales due to residents directly importing clothing from overseas vendors.

Two sectors experienced retail declines in February.

The volume of sales for service stations decreased 4.1 per cent year-over-year.

The value of sales declined 3.4 per cent reflecting restricted business hours due to curfew restrictions and fewer vehicles in transit as residents continued to work from home.

The motor vehicle stores’ sales volume fell by 14.5 per cent in February compared to 2020.

In value terms, there was a 14.9 per cent decline due to fewer sales of cars and motorcycles.

Total selected overseas declarations increased 36 per cent in February 2021 compared to February 2020.

Year-over-year, imports by courier increased by $2.2 million to $13.5 million due to greater imports of clothing and footwear.

Imports by households via sea rose $6.3 million to $7.6 million as a result of higher imports of clothing, furniture, machinery, appliances and electrical equipment.

Declarations at the airport by returning residents fell $2.6 million to $800,000.

Imports via the Bermuda Post Office remained the same at $400,000.

Excluding Sundays, there were 24 shopping days in the month, one less than in February 2020.

See the February 2021 Retail Sales Index report at https://www.gov.bm/retail-sales-index-rsi.

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Published May 18, 2021 at 8:19 am (Updated May 18, 2021 at 9:37 am)

Retail sales increase for eighth consecutive month

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