Fahy on Retail Sales: Change Duty Charges

October 20, 2010

Bermuda Democratic Alliance sdpokesperson on finance Michael Fahy commented on  falling retail sales saying “It is yet another economic indicator that the local economy is suffering and people are not spending their money at home or at all,” and that “If we are going to assist retailers in this downturn then we need to implement a change in the way duty is charged on retail outlets.’

According to statistics released by Government; in August 2010 consumers spent an estimated $84.7 million on retail sales, a decrease of $8.8 million or 9.5% from the same month of last year, marking the 17th consecutive month of declining sales.

Mr Fahy’s full statement follows below:

The continued decline in retail sales in hardly surprising. It is yet another economic indicator that the local economy is suffering and people are not spending their money at home or at all. What would be interesting to know is how many sales are being made over the internet. If we are going to assist retailers in this downturn then we need to implement a change in the way duty is charged on retail outlets. The BDA has proposed on a number of occasions import duty being imposed on the retailer after goods have been sold. This will give some assistance to this sector.

People need to face the facts. The economy has been mismanaged. We cannot blame all of our woes on a global downturn. Given that there is traditionally a lag in Bermuda in terms of downturns and recoveries of about six months compared to the US there was, at the very least a six month window of opportunity to help the local economy. There is more hardship to come. There is definitely a continued trickle of IB personnel leaving Bermuda. The ACE example has Bermudians involved. When Bermudians start losing their jobs and cannot find employment then perhaps we will start taking our heads out of the sand and recognise the truth about where we are.

There are things that can be done. Costs need to be cut and better management of capital projects is a very simple start in saving. Examine Bermuda First – this has not been followed.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Jonathan says:

    I think some additional information on exactly how the Retail Sales Figures (RSF) are derived would help inform all of us concerned about the state of our economy. What classifies as retail? Not all retail stores report so is the figure a calculated guess? An estimate? A sampling of stores that report retail sales? Just Chamber members? BMA circulation figures? Are Customs Clearance figures aggregated into this? Take $84.7 million reported as monthly sales/divide by 60,000/divide by 30 days and you end up with $47 per person per day. Sounds low to me even factoring in a portion of those under 16 years of age.

    • Jonathan says:

      Some of the answers as to how the Retail Sales Index is derived are actually found in your post of yesterday’s date. It is a fact that only 70% of stores are utilised in the data collection. Even the official release states that the figures are an “estimated” gross turnover. Although the trend line is a concern (decline in retail sales), the actual figures do not appear wholly reliable given the clear evidence of under-reporting/no reporting from large segments of the various retail sectors that make up the Index.

  2. Alicia says:

    How about the stores bring more up to date fashion & more of a selection… the more office buildings you put up the more the retail sales will drop.. And christmas time is just going to drop some more because has anyone seen the price of toys in Phoenix? RIDICULOUS!! So we dont have much of a choice than to shop overseas.. And i remember Phoenix having A LOT more toys than what they have now. So how about putting more Retail stores up and giving bermudians a better selection of stores than what he have now and then watch your retail sales go up!

    It also didnt help retail sales when the payroll tax went up but thats a whole can of worms in itself!!

    • D says:

      I agree. You can’t be paying an arm and a leg for clothes. Especially since as soon as you do, you’re going to see someone else in the exact same outfit.

      Who do you expect to be putting up retail stores?

      You are absolutely right about the payroll tax.

  3. Malika says:

    Retail sales are down because the buyers are not buying fashionable items and customer service sucks. Just because someone is full figure, it doesnt mean they have to dress like a grandma. I do not spend my hard earned money in stores where they have sales associates that dont even acknowledge that you are in the store when they’re not even busy. What about those that talk on the phone as if there are no customers present. It is sad but I will continue to go overseas until I see an improvement in the quality of the items and an improvement in Customer service.

  4. terry says:

    Times are hard everywhere. Fashion and toys are more important than food on the table. Airline tickets? Chump change.

    It’s “Rock Fever” 2010….’The Final Purchase’………………………what a day to give up brownies……….

  5. Not Surprised says:

    OK….read the comments above and all valid points and will agree with most of them. However, I don’t know about you , but everyone is crying the same story. We are all broke and the last thing we want to do is spend money on something that we can “Settle” For. Money is very very tight. The prices have gone up everywhere but our salaries remain the same. Our 3% salary increases a year do not equate to the rate at which prices are increasing all around us. And i haveno clue where there getting their infaltion rates,but something doesn’t add up! Rents, bills, gas and food etc. are all rising. The price has gone up so much and my salary has virtually stayed the same. By the time payroll taxes and insurance have gone up , bye bye my little 3%.

    All of that being said, you either have what I want/need or you don’t. If you don’t then I will go overseas and get it and a fraction of the cost for “settling” here. I can have some items bought retail (not discounted) and shipped with duty paid, for around 20-50 bucks or more saved. How do you figure that, when stores are bringing in a few of the same items in? Logic dictates that buying in bulk, even taking into consideration over heads,Should afford stores the ability to pass the savings from doing so onto the customer to generate income……. Not to mention shopping online or overseas happens with a lot less agrravation.

    But if others are like me, then you have cut costs from all angles and have stopped even “Window Shopping” By the time i pay $164 for two bags of groceries and pay bills and rent. I can no longer afford any luxuries.

    To add to the lady concerning Christmas and toys. I agree with you 100%. What happened to toy shops in Bermuda as well as craft shopes and so many other places like that???? I feel sorry for children in Bermuda and there is nothing here for them….. NOTHING! you have 6 small aisles in the pehonix and then you are SOL…..as far as craft and fabric shops, you can’t even buy fabric or anythng like you used to and make things youself to try to save money. You have two places in Bermuda to buy fabric. I will say that I had been fabric hunting and will be going to Quija fabrics, As small as it is, the ladies in there are so helpful, and she has a better slection then the giant counter part, who should technically have more but do not. Although it was a little pricey, her slection and their friendly assistance will make me go back, I can still save by puschasing fabic and making what i need. After all i don’t want to walk around naked. When i can afford to leave “The Rock” I shop out of neccessity, not want. Why pay 30 for bucks for 3 pairs underwear in Bermuda when i can pay 30 bucks for more and better quality elsewhere? And I’m even on a budget when i do that. No luxury shopping trips for me.