July retail sales in Puerto Rico rise 17.4%
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced a 17.4% increase in July retail sales when compared with the same month last year.
July sales totaled $3.03 billion, according to the Trade & Export Co. (CCE by its Spanish initials) data, which pegged sales that month in 2017 at $2.58 billion. So far this year, retail sales have risen 16 percent compared with the same period in 2017.
“This report is another economic indicator that shows the reforms implemented by our administration are paying off. The most recent employment statistics reflect the highest number of total jobs in the last five years and the lowest unemployment reported on the Island for the past 50 years,” the governor said in a release issued by his office, La Fortaleza.
He added that “it is important to continue advancing the transformation agenda to make Puerto Rico more competitive and to improve the conditions of our small and medium-sized companies. For that reason, we are working on the energy reform and the new tax model that will benefit our private sector.”
Small and midsize businesses reflected a substantial improvement in sales for the month: $1.03 billion, or a 39 percent gain versus July 2017, when $745 million was sold.
Specifically, small businesses saw $34 million more than for the same month last year. Meanwhile, midsize companies’ rose by $255 million, or 63.1 percent, compared with July 2017. Large companies, meanwhile, sold $471 million worth of products versus $430 million in July 2017, for a 9.5 percent increase.
“The 39% increase in July means [small and midsize businesses] sold $300 million more. It should be noted that the cumulative sales from January to July for the…sector increased 26% compared with the same period of 2017. This is an additional more than $1.5 billion for our [small and midsize businesses]. Total sales for the period totaled $7.1 billion, while from January to July of 2017 these totaled $5.6 billion,” CCE Executive Director Ricardo Llerandi said in the release.
The official added that “this shows that small and midsize companies have maintained a sales growth trend during 2018.”
Big chains grew at a rate of 8.4 percent. July sales for this sector totaled $1.52 billion, in contrast to $1.41 billion in July last year, a $118 million difference.
The sectors that reported the highest sales increases were new and used vehicles, which rose 44.3%; furniture stores, 41.9%; and gardening supplies, 42.8%.
Fuel distributors reported an increase of 35%, while gas stations and convenience stores saw an increase of 34%.
The sectors that fared worse in July were: sports and music instruments and entertainment stores (-25.9%), specialty food stores (-11.8%), electronic goods stores (-6.1%), and cosmetics, beauty products and perfume stores (-2.6%).
“In the first seven months of the year, sales totaled $19.825 billion compared to $17.098 billion in the same period in 2017. This 16% increase in retail sales to date this year represents an additional $2.727 billion for the economy of Puerto Rico,” Llerandi Cruz stressed.