Puerto Rico small, midsize business sales surge
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who is on a trip to Toronto and New York, issued a release Tuesday to announce that retail sales of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) on the island increased by $200 million in August, or 22 percent growth compared with last year.
SME sales in August totaled more than $1.1 billion while the same month in 2017 sales was of $904 million.
“Our efforts have focused on helping small and medium-sized businesses, as they make an immense contribution to our economy. Today, we have 1,007,000 jobs which reflects the highest number in the last five years,” the governor said.
Rosselló highlighted initiatives to help this sector such as the federal employee-retention aid after businesses were mired in challenges following last year’s hurricanes; the timely payment of tax return reimbursements; and the tax reform that reduces corporate rates and eliminates the tax between businesses that generate less than $200,000.
“These measures to strengthen our small and midsize businesses are paying off. These entrepreneurs have fought to start, maintain their businesses and even expand their business ideas, even after the challenge of past weather events,” Rosselló said, adding that his administration remains “committed to providing the tools needed to help our local entrepreneurs continue to grow and reap the most out of their projects.”
The executive director of the Trade and Export Co. (CCE), Ricardo Llerandi Cruz, broke down the year-to-date numbers.
“The cumulative sales of this important sector from January to August 2018 increased $1.7 billion when compared with the same period in 2017, which reflected an increase of 26%,” he said in the release, adding that “total sales for this period was $8.202 billion, while from January to August of 2017, it was of $6.518 billion.”
Retail sales in August, which reached $3.01 billion increased by 13.8 percent compared with the same month last year, whose total was $2.65 billion.
“Sales from January to August increased 15.7 percent, since the total sales for this period amounted to $22.837 billion while for the same period of 2017 they totaled $19.746 billion,” the release reads.
The sectors that reported the greatest increase in sales were yard and gardening equipment, up 37.6 percent; furniture stores, rising 36.3 percent; and gas stations and convenience stores climbing 29.1 percent.
“Only four sectors reported a reduction in sales: jewelry stores, luggage and leather goods with -19.7 percent; sports stores, musical instruments and entertainment with -7.4 percent; shoe stores with -5.9 percent; and cosmetics, beauty products and perfume stores with -5.6 percent,” according to the release.
“We will continue with our work agenda, promoting and developing the initiatives implemented through the Puerto Rico Emprende platform of the Rosselló Nevares Administration. It is through these initiatives that we contribute to the strengthening and development of our small and midsize enterprises,” Llerandi added.