Monday, June 14, 2021

DDEC Survey Shows Uptick in Retail Sales

By on May 17, 2021

Secretary Manuel Cidre says the increase is “good news” but highlights that federal assistance funds will come to an end. (Jaime Rivera/CB)

The Retail Sales Survey corresponding to February and carried out by the Economic Development & Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish acronym), Markets and Economics Research Division ascribed to the agency’s Economic Analysis and Business Intelligence Office, reflected that for the ninth consecutive month, retail sales went up compared to those recorded during the same month last year, secretary Manuel Cidre announced.

“The reported upticks in retail sales have been sustained month after month, which has in part been stimulated by increased spending related to recovery funds, federal and state aid to tackle the pandemic’s [economic impact] … Factors related to the flow of funds related to reconstruction processes and Covid-19 [related economic assistances], should be stimulating and boosting consumer spending in the months to come as well,” Cidre said.

The DDEC secretary further noted that although this is “good news, we cannot rely exclusively on funds aimed at mitigating the pandemic and rebuilding Puerto Rico.”

“We have to look further, because those funds will not be eternal, the pandemic won’t be either,” he said, while adding that “we are working to strengthen the environment of doing business in Puerto Rico, primarily by supporting local companies, strengthening the supply chain ecosystem and updating processes and initiatives that will be in line with the times we are living in.”

The DDEC secretary detailed that sales recorded for February amounted to $2.58 billion, representing a 13.0 percent increase compared to the same month in 2020.  This is the ninth recorded hike in sales at an annual rate and the strongest for February since 2018, Cidre said. 

“Retail sales of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reached $751.4 million. These increased by 19.5 percent at an annual rate,” Cidre assured. “Sales of SMEs accounted for 29.1 percent of all retail sales in February 2021. During the same month last year, it was 27.5 percent.”

According to the study some of the significant percentage increases took place in the following segments: yard and gardening equipment stores (+111.5 percent); sports, musical, and entertainment instrument shops (+98.2 percent); furniture stores (+78.4 percent); hardware stores and household materials (+59.5 percent) and specialty food stores (+43.3 percent).

Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores’ sales increased to 37.8 percent. New and used motor vehicle establishments increased by 31.5 percent and auto parts stores increased by 30.8 percent.

Department stores and other miscellaneous items increased by 8.8 percent, with supermarkets and liquor stores reporting a 6.0 percent increase. In addition, pharmacies and drugstores reported a 4.2 percent increase in sales.

On the other hand, establishments reporting the most reductions in February were gas stations and convenience stores (-16.0 percent), electronic stores (-4.9 percent), restaurants, and places that sell alcoholic beverages (-2.7 percent).

The report concludes that the cumulative value of retail sales during the first eight months of the fiscal year 2021 (July-February) showcases an increase of 11.5 percent, compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year.