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April retail sales bump reflects 2020 closures

Retail sales rose 25.4 per cent in April, but this was largely a reflection of the fact many retail businesses were closed during the April, 2020 lockdown. (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The value of retail sales jumped 25.4 per cent in April, but largely because much of the island was locked down in the same month in 2020 during the pandemic.

Wayne Furbert, the Cabinet Office minister, said the overall volume of local retail sales increased by 23.3 per cent year-over-year.

In value terms, retail sales rose 25.4 per cent to an estimated $82.5 million.

April’s retail sales increase compares to the previous year’s local retail sales which reported a volume decrease of 28.9 per cent due largely to the pandemic, as outlined in the Department of Statistics’ April 2021 Retail Sales report.

And April's retail sales growth represents the tenth consecutive month of increase.

Mr Furbert said: “This consistent increase in activity is good news for Bermuda’s economy and many local businesses.”

Major highlights of April’s retail sales activity include substantial increases in sales volume for sectors labelled Motor Vehicle Stores, Apparel Stores and Building Material Stores compared to the previous year.

Five of the seven retail sales sectors experienced positive growth in April 2021. However, with the exception of food and liquor store sales, the sales volume for the other sectors remained below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

Growth in April 2021 was led by the Motor Vehicle Stores which experienced an increase of nearly 60 times the volume of sales earned in April 2020. With comparatively fewer store closures this year when compared to 2020, there was a greater opportunity for vehicle sales.

Apparel stores sales increased six-fold in sales volume. The increase was due to retailers being open for part of the month of April this year compared to being physically closed for the entire month last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year-over-year, volume sales at Building Material Stores increased almost five-fold in April 2021. All retailers were open for business for a greater number of days in April 2021 compared to mandatory closures due to the pandemic restrictions in the previous year.

The All Other Store Types sector comprises a variety of stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals, marine supplies and tourist-related goods. In April 2021, it showed a 79.8 per cent increase in sales volume compared to a 59.8 per cent decrease in April 2020.

Service Stations experienced a 65.9 per cent growth compared to a 59.3 per cent decrease on 2020.

April sales volume for Food Stores decreased 5.0 per cent, whereas there was a 21.4 per cent increase in April 2020. Sales volume for Liquor Stores decreased by 19.1 per cent compared to a 39.1 per cent increase in April 2020.

The initial uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipation of government restrictions and stay-at-home orders in April 2020 resulted in larger than average food and liquor purchases compared to this year.

Minister Furbert said: “Total selected overseas declarations increased 99.2 per cent in April 2021 compared to April 2020. The rise in overseas declarations was influenced by greater imports of optical instruments, medical instruments and apparatus and clothing by courier as well as higher imports of clothing, furniture and boating and marine equipment by sea.”

Minister Furbert concluded by thanking residents who once again, during these challenging times, are playing a key role in supporting local businesses, keeping people employed and aiding our economy.

The public is encouraged to review the April 2021 Retail Sales Index report in full at https://www.gov.bm/retail-sales-index-rsi

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Published August 27, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated August 27, 2021 at 10:51 am)

April retail sales bump reflects 2020 closures

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