The volume of retail sales fell by 4.4 percent in September and a further 3.6 percent in October last year, while the “total selected overseas declarations decreased” as well.
“Overseas declarations includes imports received via courier, residents through the airport, households by sea and the post office.”
The latest Retail Sales Index for September and October 2019 was released on Friday by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Wayne Furbert.
Highlighted below are the September 2019 year-over-year changes for the largest changes in local retail sectors:
- Motor Vehicle Stores’ sales volume decreased 26.9 percent
- Building Material Stores’ sales volume declined 19.2 percent
- Apparel Stores’ sales volume declined 16.6 percent
October 2019 year-over-year changes for the largest changes in local retail sectors are as follows:
- Motor Vehicle Stores’ sales volume decreased 21.4 percent
- Building Material Stores’ sales volume declined 14.3 percent
- Apparel Stores’ sales volume declined 14.0 percent
Minister Furbert added: “The reason for the delay in these reports is due to the fact that I wanted to drill down on the numbers. Additionally we should ensure some context behind the numbers. As an example, it should be noted that the decrease in retail sales reported in September 2019 when compared with September 2018 can be partly attributed to the shortened opening hours of retail establishments on September 18th and 19th due to the passing of Hurricane Humberto.
“Additionally, motor vehicle sales are significantly down due to myriad factors. Firstly, buyers are choosing to bypass dealerships and purchase directly from overseas markets (i.e. taxi operators). Secondly, there is an emerging second-hand car purchasing market that also circumvents the direct sales from distributors. Additionally, people are keeping their cars much longer.”
Minister Furbert pointed out that Government has taken steps to assist retail stores such as:
- Lowered the payroll for employers from 10.24% to 7%;
- Reduced duty on textiles and shoes; and
- Removed payroll tax for employers and employee for new startup companies.
Minister Furbert concluded: “The Government will continue to dialog with retail to find ways to assist them. But, residents can greatly assist our retailers by supporting their businesses and purchasing items and products right here in Bermuda.”
The September 2019 Retail Sales Index and the October 2019 Retail Sales Index publication are available online at https://www.gov.bm/retail-sales-index-rsi.