September travellers report 5.6% increase in overseas spending
Retail sales took another troubling fall in September, dropping 3.2 percent over the same month last year as total sales of motor vehicles skidded in heavy discounting.
Adding to that, residents returning from shopping overseas, declared they bought goods worth $5.7 million in September, compared to $5.4 million in September 2010. The 5.6 percent increase in overseas spending was due mostly to residents bringing in more parts, electronics and computer hardware, the bulletin said.
The monthly bulletin from the Department of Statistics showed consumer demand did strengthen in three of the seven sectors. Building materials recorded the strongest growth with a sales increase of 14.4 percent.
Apparel stores and service stations also showed growth. In contrast, the motor vehicle sector registered the largest decline in sales of 14.1 percent.
Demand for building materials and hardware supplies was higher due in large part to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital construction project.
The decrease in motor vehicle sales was attributed to 15 fewer cars sold compared to last year.
Although more units of motorcycles were sold during the period, the heavily discounted prices of these units prevented receipts from surpassing the level achieved last year, the bulletin explained.
Sales receipts within the service stations sector increased by 6.5 percent during September 2011. This growth mostly reflected a 15.2 percent rise in the price of gasoline.
Sales for the apparel store sector rose by 13.1 percent. Sales during the month compared favourably to last year when two shopping days were lost due to the passage of Hurricane Igor.
Meanwhile, food stores reported a 3.2 percent decrease in gross receipts compared to September 2010 when consumers purchased extra food items, stocking up in preparation for an impending storm to the Island. Receipts from liquor sales fell by 4.3 percent during the same period.
Gross receipts within the all other store types sector slipped 1.3 percent during September 2011. Within this sector, tourist-related stores recorded a growth in revenue sales of 28.0 percent, boosted by a significant increase in cruise ship passengers from 24,328 persons in 2010 to 46,022 persons in 2011.
Sales receipts of pharmaceuticals fell by 0.2 percent. Sales of furniture, appliances & electronics, and boat & marine supplies also declined by 9.9 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively.
The bulletin showed that the dollar value of retail sales in September 2011 (not adjusted to eliminate the effect of price change) decreased by 0.1 percent below the $82.7 million recorded last September.