Retail Sales Rise in March of 2021
Economic Development Secretary Manuel Cidre announced on Monday that the sales recorded for March reflected an increase when compared to the sales recorded during the same month in 2020, representing an increase of 49.6 percent. According to the most recent retail sales report, prepared by the Economic Development & Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) this is the tenth consecutive increase in sales experienced at an annual rate.
“The sales recorded for March 2021 amounted to $3.07 million, reflecting a rebound in activity compared to March 2020, where the effects of lockdown due to COVID-19 and the temporary closure of thousands of commercial establishments in Puerto Rico had already begun to be felt,” Cidre said. “A year after these events, steps have been taken in the right direction to generate and encourage economic activity,” he said.
Cidre said several factors would continue to drive consumer spending in the coming months, such as increased individual consumption tied to recovery funds, federal and state aid to deal with the pandemic, and the flow of federal funds related to the island’s reconstruction process.
Almost all establishment segments reported significant percentage increases, with the following standing out: yard and garden equipment stores (+6,369.3 percent); specialty food stores (+841.7 percent); and car parts stores (+499.2 percent). Similarly, the furniture sector experienced an increase of 142.6 percent; department stores and other miscellaneous items grew 66.6 percent, restaurants and alcoholic beverage venues experienced a 57.0 percent increase in sales, and the new and used motor vehicle sector increased by 33.6 percent.
It should be noted that the establishments that reported the most reductions in March 2021 at an annual rate are related to those that in March of the previous year managed to remain open because they were classified under an essential services category. These establishments managed to sell quantities significantly above their average sales for a month such as March. These were: supermarkets and alcoholic beverage shops (-92.6 percent); pharmacies and drugstores (-80.9 percent); and hardware stores and household materials stores (-35.3 percent).