Retail sales plummet to a five-year low – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Retail sales plummet to a five-year low

This January was the worst month for overall local sales in the past five years with just $74.9 million being spent on Island, a 5.9 percent reduction from the previous year.

When inflation is taken into account retail sales contracted by 7.8 percent.

The slump came after some sectors had reported a promising November and December. During both months the apparel sector saw sales grow when compared to the previous year's figure. The growth ended in January, sales fell 5.3 percent compared to 2010.

Companies selling building materials saw January revenues drop 46 percent in the past five years.

Yesterday, the Retail Sales Index revealed $55.9 million was spent on building materials in January this year. The figure is a 13.9 percent drop compared to January 2010 and down 46 percent from $103.8 million spent in January 2006.

The only sector to see an increase was service stations. Retail sales there rose 2.2. percent but the Department of Statistics said this was “directly attributed” to a 4.6 percent rise in gas prices.

Meanwhile, some residents were not heeding the Chamber of Commerce's “Buy Bermuda” appeal.

Residents spent $5.1 million this January overseas, up $100,000 compared to last year.

Previously Kristi Grayston, chairman of the retail division of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, predicted a tough winter for the retail sector. She told this newspaper it could lead some retailers closing their business.

“I know times are tough for everybody and people are shopping less, which I can understand, but there has got to be some support of local retailers,” she said. “Why would anybody enter into retail with these numbers? A lot of people in retail are also probably looking at these figures and saying: ‘Do I want to continue?'”

Retail sales in Bermuda plummeted to a near six-year low.

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Published March 23, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated March 23, 2011 at 10:05 am)

Retail sales plummet to a five-year low

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