Bermuda’s retail sales volume fell again, for the fourteenth time in 15 months to 4.4 percent year-on-year in May, to 0.8 percent, when adjusted for inflation.

According to the latest figures in the Retail Sales Index, all sectors were down, with the biggest decline in the apparel stores sector, where sales volume dropped 18 percent.

The only month that saw an overall increase was April, since February 2018, which recorded a 0.5 percent increase.

The total value of retail sales in May was $101.8 million, which was down 3.5 percent.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Wayne Furbert said: “I met with members of the Chamber of Commerce retail sector to discuss ways the Government can assist them.

“I made it clear that the industry must make changes to face the challenges of local retail sales being affected by purchases overseas. I also encourage residents to shop more locally.”

The all other store types sector was down 8 percent in volume, and 8.1 percent in terms of value, led by a 16.6 percent decline in marine and boat supplies sales, a 14.2 percent decrease in sales value of furniture, appliances and electronics, and a 10.8 percent decrease in miscellaneous goods. But the value of sales for pharmacies increased 1.7 percent.

Liquor sales were also down 4.1 percent and food stores had a 0.4 percent decrease, although the value of food sales rose 1.9 percent.

Building material stores saw a 3.8 percent decrease in sales volume, year-on-year, while sales at service stations was down 3.4 percent – the value of sales fell by 5.5 percent and motor vehicle retailers saw demand weaken by 0.5 percent.

And then there’s the online shopping factor.

According to the latest figures, imports via couriers increased $1.1 million, to $12.5 million.

Imports by households via sea, rose $800,000 to $1.5 million reflecting higher direct imports of furniture, clothing, liquor and jewellery.

Imports via the post office increased $100,000 to $600,000. But, declarations by returning residents via the airport declined $100,000 to $5.2 million.

The Retail Sales Index was released by the Bermuda Government Department of Statistics on Thursday (August 29).