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Retail sales show worrying trend

October brought more bad news for retailers

With one exception, retail sales have fallen every October since 2016, government figures show. Only in 2020 did the month record an increase.

The Retail Sales Index press statement released Friday night said October’s retail sales fell 6.6 per cent compared to last year.

And that’s not the only disturbing trend.

The government reported that volume sales for apparel stores decreased an incredible 17.4 per cent in October, when compared with October 2020.

That was the sixth consecutive year of October declines for apparel stores, most of which are double digit reductions, when compared with the same month of prior years.

The graph shows the dollar value of sold goods at current retail market prices, but adjusted to eliminate the effect of price change.

The Department of Statistics document said for October 2021: “Sales (for apparel stores) were comparatively weaker than the previous year as retailers reported that the Covid-19 pandemic continued to negatively impact sales as well as the volume of customers visiting their stores. In value terms, sales fell 16.3 per cent in October 2021.”

But a look back over past Octobers, revealed a decline every year going back to 2016, when it dropped 22.8 per cent as compared to October 2015.

It was down again 2017 (1.9 per cent), 2018 (7.8 per cent), 2019 (14 per cent), and 2020 (11.9 per cent), meaning apparel stores are selling in October a mere fraction of what they once did.

In value terms, retail sales decreased to an estimated $96.2 million compared to last year (October 2020).

Meanwhile, overseas declarations increased 13.6 per cent compared to October 2020.

The government said the rise in the value of selected overseas declarations was influenced mostly by higher imports by households via sea, related to clothing, footwear and motorboats.

Building material sales grew by 5.9 per cent due to a higher demand for home improvement products.

There was also a 1.8 per cent increase in marine and boating gear, but there were other declines.

Down by 5.0 per cent were liquor store sales, while food store sales fell 2.9 per cent, mainly due, the government said, to fewer shopping days during the month.

In the “all other store types” sector (comprising of stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals and tourist-related goods) there was a 9.9 per cent decrease due to lower sales of furniture, appliances and electronics, as well as sales at pharmacies.

Service Station sales declined by 12.6 per cent and motor vehicle stores’ sales fell by 16.5 per cent.

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Published February 07, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated February 08, 2022 at 8:02 am)

Retail sales show worrying trend

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