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Retail sales ‘disappointing’

Apparel boost: Clothes stores sold more in November than a year earlier

Retail sales dropped slightly in November last year after adjustment for inflation, the latest figures have revealed.

Shoppers bought a total of $93 million in goods and services, with $6 million of it being spent abroad.

And today the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce said the figures were “disappointing”.

Paula Clarke, of the retail division of the chamber, said: “Other than motor vehicles, volume of retail sales for the month of November was disappointing.

Although apparel stores showed an increase over the past year, these sales were driven by promotions which were necessary in an attempt to recover lost sales for this sector in October due to hurricane activity.”

The headline statistics showed a 1.4 per cent rise on the same period in 2013 — but a 0.8 per cent fall after factoring in the 2.2 per cent rate of inflation for the month.

But there was good news for sellers of cars and motorcycles — they logged an 11.3 per cent rise year on year.

And sales of clothing also increased, with a 3.9 per cent rise, although that was attributed to a string of cut-price promotions over the month.

The food and liquor sector also posted a modest increase compared to November 2013, with a 3.4 per cent increase in liquor sales and a 2.5 per cent increase in food sales.

But Government statisticians said the increase was a result of rises in food and liquor prices of 3.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.

Building supplies merchants had a grim month, with sales contracting by 2.9 per cent, attributed to fewer construction projects.

Sales receipts for all other store types also fell, by a total of 2.8 per cent year on year.

Boat and marine supplies saw the biggest drop — 65.6 per cent — while tourist-related stores fell eight per cent.

Sales of pharmaceuticals went down by 2.5 per cent, but the furniture, appliances and electronics sector posted a modest increase of 1.9 per cent in November compared to the same month in 2013.

And a global slide in the price of oil pushed sales at service stations down 0.6 per cent, attributed to a 2.9 per cent fall in the price of fuel.

Residents returning from overseas declared $6 million in overseas purchases in November last year — down 1.6 per cent year on year.