Retail sales volume continues to fall
December 2022 figures show both the sales volume and value for building material stores shot up by more than 30 per cent, when compared with December 2021.
In fact, the sales volume was nearly 80 per cent higher than December 2019.
This, as the overall volume of retail sales for the month fell year-over-year for the sixth time in seven months, according to the Retail Sales Index released on Thursday by the Ministry of Economy and Labour.
After adjusting for the retail sales rate of inflation, which was measured at 6.3 per cent in December, the overall volume of retail sales decreased by 1.7 per cent when compared to December 2021.
In value terms, retail sales increased to an estimated $117.8 million, which represented a 4.5 per cent rise in sales value.
This increase in sales value was caused by elevated rates of inflation for all other store types, food, clothing and footwear, and fuel.
Four of the seven sectors recorded volume decreases in December.
The sales volume at apparel stores fell 17.5 per cent and was 18.7 per cent below the pre-pandemic sales of 2019.
The sales volume for food stores declined 7.2 per cent, while its sales value increased by 5.4 per cent. This was the result of the 10.2 per cent increase in the cost of food. Liquor stores’ sales volume increased 1.5 per cent.
Compared to the pre-pandemic sales volume in 2019, food stores registered an 8.3 per cent decrease, and sales for liquor stores were 13.2 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 7 per cent decrease in sales volume. Sales for this sector registered 3.6 per cent below the pre-pandemic sales volume for the same period of 2019.
Service stations’ sales volume decreased 4.9 per cent from last year and was 5.9 per cent below the pre-pandemic sales in December 2019.
However, the value of sales grew 1.4 per cent due largely to a 6.6 per cent increase in the cost of fuel.
Three sectors experienced increases in sales volume compared to the previous year.
Motor vehicle stores’ sales volume increased 7.1 per cent due to a higher inventory of automobiles available compared to the previous year. The sales level was 7.1 per cent below the sales volume in December 2019 before the pandemic.
The sales volume and value for building material stores increased 30.3 per cent and 32.5 per cent, respectively. The sales volume for this sector was 77.4 per cent above the 2019 sales level.
Overseas declarations decreased 1.5 per cent compared to December 2021 and were 35.4 per cent higher than in the pre-pandemic period of 2019.
Imports via courier decreased $1.7 million to $16.2 million due to the lower importations of pharmaceutical and chemical products.
Imports by households via sea decreased $200,000 to $10.4 million as a result of decreased imports of beverages, spirits, vinegar, machinery, mechanical appliances and electrical equipment.
Declarations at the airport by returning residents increased $1.4 million to $5.7 million.
Imports via the Bermuda Post Office remained the same at $600,000.
Excluding Sundays, there were 25 shopping days, the same as in December 2021.
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