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Overseas shopping declarations jumped 41 per cent in August

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Down: Calypso closed its MaxMara outlet in October (File photograph)
The end: Another outlet failed to survive a turbulent 2021 (Photograph by David Fox)

Declarations in August from overseas shopping shot up 41.1 per cent compared with the same month last year, Retail Sales Index figures just released show.

The rise was seen in higher imports of clothing, furnishings and electrical machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, sales for local clothing stores fell by 3.5 per cent with some retailers reporting inventory challenges because of shipping delays as well as fewer customers.

In October the veteran retailer Calypso closed several branch stores and incorporated merchandise into its main store, saying that with so many people working from home right now residents were not browsing Hamilton stores like they once did.

Calypso CEO Maritza Sequeros also attributed the restructuring to the fact that people were sourcing more overseas goods through online shopping.

“We want them to shop Bermuda,” Ms Sequeros said. “We want to keep our staff employed.”

Wayne Furbert, the Cabinet Office Minister, stirred controversy in October when he said it “would help” the situation if Bermudian stores stocked a wider range of products.

In August retail sales figures saw a decline of 2.9 per cent compared with the previous year, while in value terms retail sales remained unchanged at an estimated $99.6 million compared with last year.

Mr Furbert said that he was encouraged despite the decline.

He said that progress was taking place in terms of the Government’s commitment to helping local businesses during Bermuda’s economic recovery.

“Recent months have seen significant increases in online retail sales activity,” he conceded.

“This was clearly evident with the 41 per cent increase in August’s overseas declarations. We are determined to make it easier for Bermudian small and medium-sized businesses to benefit from a local online shopping platform, hence the launch of www.bybermuda.bm, which is now live.”

There is positive news.

In the construction industry Bermuda's building supplies stores experienced a 16 per cent jump in sales, while car sales also increased 6.8 per cent compared with August 2020.

“The uptick in building material sales continues to indicate that residents are benefiting from the streamlined government-implemented processes and policies in such areas as planning application approval,” the minister said. “This has had an encouraging effect on allowing many construction and renovation projects to proceed.”

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Published December 08, 2021 at 7:49 am (Updated December 08, 2021 at 7:48 am)

Overseas shopping declarations jumped 41 per cent in August

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