Retail sales volumes fall for third consecutive month
The latest monthly retail sales figures showed another slump — the third month in a row and the twelfth time in 14 months.
The worrying trend showed retail sales volume was down by nearly five per cent in August compared with the same month last year, the Ministry of Economy and Labour has reported.
The 4.8 per cent decline was arrived at after adjusting for the retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 5.8 per cent in August.
The August Retail Sales Index revealed that in value terms, retail sales increased to an estimated $100.5 million, which represented a 0.8 per cent increase in sales value.
This increase in sales value was caused by an elevated rate of inflation for food stores and other store types.
Compared with the pre-pandemic period of August 2019, the volume of sales was 0.8 per cent higher.
Five of the seven sectors recorded declines in August.
Motor vehicle stores’ sales volume plummeted 20.5 per cent as a result of a decreased number of vehicles being sold, compared with the previous year.
The sales volume at food stores fell 7.5 per cent, while its sales value rose 2.6 per cent. This was owing to a 9.5 per cent increase in the cost of food.
The sales volume and value of liquor stores increased 2.3 per cent and 3.4 per cent, respectively.
Compared with the pre-pandemic sales volume in 2019, food stores registered a 6.9 per cent decrease, while sales for liquor stores were 0.2 per cent higher.
In the all other store types sector — comprising stores selling household items, furniture, appliances, electronics, pharmaceuticals and tourist-related goods — there was a 6.3 per cent decrease in the sales volume owing to lower sales of boat and marine supplies.
Sales for this sector registered 3.3 per cent above the pre-pandemic sales volume for the same period of 2019.
Service stations’ sales volume decreased 1.3 per cent from last year and was 4.4 per cent above the pre-pandemic sales in August 2019.
The sales volume and value for building material stores decreased 2.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively. The sales volume for this sector was 2.4 per cent above the 2019 sales level.
The sales volume at apparel stores grew 0.7 per cent. This was due partially to increased inventory.
However, the sales volume was 19.2 per cent below the pre-pandemic sales of 2019.
Imports via courier decreased $0.6 million to $12.6 million due to lower imports of printed publications.
Imports by households via sea decreased $1 million to $7.8 million.
Declarations at the airport by returning residents grew $0.5 million to $5.9 million as more residents have been travelling.
Imports via the Bermuda Post Office increased $0.1 million to $0.5 million.
Overseas declarations decreased 3.6 per cent compared to August 2021.
Overseas declarations were 25.1 per cent higher when compared to the pre-pandemic period of 2019.
Excluding Sundays, there were 27 shopping days, two more than in August 2021.