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Consumer spending falls as car sales plummet

Retail sales fell by more than eight percent in real terms - driven by a plunge in car sales.

Government released the Retail Sales Index this afternoon which showed that retail sales in July declined by five percent below the $94.6 million recorded in July 2011.

“Consumer demand weakened in four of the seven retail sectors. Motor vehicles stores experienced the largest decline registering a 44.7 percent drop in sales receipts. In contrast, retailers of service stations, apparel stores, and building material stores recorded increases of 8.8 percent, 5.8 percent and 0.4 percent respectively,” said the report.

However, the report also shows that tourist-related sales fell by more than ten percent in July.

Residents returning to the Island declared overseas purchases of goods valued at $5.3 million during July, 1.9 percent lower than the $5.4 million declared in July last year. Combined local and overseas spending totalled $95.2 million.

The report adds: “After adjusting for the annual retail sales rate of inflation, measured at 3.7 percent in June the volume of retail sales fell by 8.5 percent.”

By Sector

Motor Vehicle Stores

Retail sales of motor vehicles plummeted 44.7 percent to almost half of total sales recorded in July 2010. Fewer unit sales of all vehicle types led to this decline. The number of cars sold fell by 41.1 percent while motorcycle sales declined by 17.6 percent.

All Other Store Types

The all other store types sector experienced a 6.6 percent drop in sales receipts during July. Tourist-related stores recorded the largest decrease in sales of 10.4 percent. Sales of boat and marine supplies, and pharmaceuticals sales both declined by 6.9 per cent. Retailers of furniture, appliances and electronics saw their sales receipts decrease by 6.8 percent.

Building Materials

Sales of building materials increased by 0.4 percent compared to July 2010. This moderate rise marked the first increase for this sector since July 2009 as retailers benefitted from increased demand associated with recent new construction projects.

Food and Liquor Stores

Gross receipts for liquor and food stores declined in July 2011. Liquor sales dropped by 3.4 percent while food sales declined by 1.9 percent during the month.

Service Stations

In July 2011, sales receipts for service stations increased by 8.8 percent. Retailers linked the growth in sales to higher fuel prices. The East End service stations also attributed their sales increase to heightened demand during the Cup Match holiday.

Apparel Stores

Retailers of apparel reported an increase in sales for the second consecutive month. Sales revenue grew by 5.8 percent for the month of July, partly due to increased spending by tourists.

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Published September 22, 2011 at 3:15 pm (Updated September 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm)

Consumer spending falls as car sales plummet

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