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Retail sales lowest for six years

Retail sales have fallen to their lowest level for six years, according to statistics released this afternoon.

The Retail Sales Index, a key economic indicator used to assess the current performance of sales activity, for January showed that retail sales fell by 5.9 percent to an estimated $74.6 million.

The report states: “This total marked the lowest sales level recorded for the retail industry since February 2005. All sectors experienced year-over-year declines with the exception of service stations, which reported a marginal gain.

“Overseas purchases declared by travelling residents increased by two percent to $5.1 million. Combined local and overseas spending totalled $79.7 million, a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to the level recorded in 2010.

“After adjusting for the annual retail sales rate of inflation, measured at two percent in January, the volume of retail sales contracted by 7.8 percent.”

The report adds: “The continuing slump in construction activity led to another month of dismal sales for retailers of building materials. Sales revenue fell by 13.6 percent during January. The January sales index for this sector measured year-over-year declines in sales since 2006.

“The sales index for motor vehicle stores fell 19.2 percent. This reflected a decrease in the sales volume of both motorcycles and cars.

“Sales revenue for retailers within the all other store types sector declined 6.3 percent compared to levels recorded in January 2010.

“Retailers of boat and marine supplies reported a 16.5 percent drop in sales during the month, the largest decline within the sector. Gross sales from furniture, appliance and electronics stores decreased 10.4 percent. Similarly, sales of pharmaceutical products were lower, falling by 3.6 percent. In contrast, gross receipts for tourist-related stores climbed 10.4 percent.

“Food sales dipped 2.2 percent during the month, while the price of food increased 1.2 percent over the same period. Sales at liquor stores declined 7.7 percent compared to January 2010. After two months of positive sales growth, sales revenue earned by apparel outlets fell 5.3 percent in January.

“Gross sales receipts reported by service stations increased 1.6 percent during January, however, this increase was directly attributed to a 4.6 percent rise in the price of gasoline.”

Residents returning from business and vacation trips declared overseas purchases of $5.1 million in January 2011. This represented an increase of two percent above the value of goods purchased abroad in January 2010.

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Retail sales are the lowest for six years.

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Published March 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm (Updated March 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm)

Retail sales lowest for six years

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