Retail Sales Drop In September & October

February 15, 2020 | 25 Comments

Minister for the Cabinet Office Wayne Furbert released the September 2019 and October 2019 Retail Sales Index publications from the Department of Statistics.

The Minister explained, “The volume of retail sales decreased 4.4 per cent in September 2019 and a further 3.6 per cent in October 2019. Meanwhile, total selected overseas declarations decreased in September 2019 and October 2019 compared to September 2018 and October 2018. Overseas declarations includes imports received via courier, residents through the airport, households by sea and the post office.”

Chart extracted from the report:

9-September 2019.pub - Publisher

Highlighted below are the September 2019 year-over-year changes for the largest changes in local retail sectors:

  • Motor Vehicle Stores’ sales volume decreased 26.9 per cent.
  • Building Material Stores’ sales volume declined 19.2 per cent.
  • Apparel Stores’ sales volume declined 16.6 per cent.

October 2019 year-over-year changes for the largest changes in local retail sectors are as follows:

  • Motor Vehicle Stores’ sales volume decreased 21.4 per cent.
  • Building Material Stores’ sales volume declined 14.3 per cent.
  • Apparel Stores’ sales volume declined 14.0 per cent.

Minister Furbert added, “The reason for the delay in these reports is due to the fact that I wanted to drill down on the numbers. Additionally we should ensure some context behind the numbers. As an example, it should be noted that the decrease in retail sales reported in September 2019 when compared with September 2018 can be partly attributed to the shortened opening hours of retail establishments on September 18th and 19th due to the passing of Hurricane Humberto.

Chart extracted from the report:

10-October 2019.pub - Publisher

“Additionally, motor vehicle sales are significantly down due to myriad factors. Firstly, buyers are choosing to bypass dealerships and purchase directly from overseas markets [i.e. taxi operators]. Secondly, there is an emerging second-hand car purchasing market that also circumvents the direct sales from distributors. Additionally, people are keeping their cars much longer.”

Minister Furbert pointed out that Government has taken steps to assist retail stores such as:

  • 1. Lowered the payroll for employers from 10.24% to 7%;
  • 2. Reduced duty on textiles and shoes; and
  • 3. Removed payroll tax for employers and employee for new startup companies.

Minister Furbert concluded, “The Government will continue to dialog with retail to find ways to assist them. But, residents can greatly assist our retailers by supporting their businesses and purchasing items and products right here in Bermuda.”

The full September 2019 Retail Sales Index publication follows below [PDF here]:

The full October 2019 Retail Sales Index publication follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (25)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    The Minister withheld the numbers so he could “drill down”? The reason is simple – less population. Sales are now less than in 2014 so it’s not spending habits.
    Another useless $158,000 spent that could be used to help needy Bermudians.

  2. Question says:

    Two months with the lowest retail sales for six years, and Furbert blames it all on a hurricane.

  3. Of course says:

    And it’ll continue to drop as long as The PLP are in.

  4. Roller Coster says:

    It’s the PLP roller coaster

    • Not Exactly says:

      Not true: roller coasters go up too. The “PLP slide” would be more accurate.

  5. Just like duty on certain foods says:

    Government has stated Reduced duty on textiles and shoes however the FCPT has increased so in reality there has been no decrease.

  6. Joe Bloggs says:

    ” it should be noted that the decrease in retail sales reported in September 2019 when compared with September 2018 can be partly attributed to the shortened opening hours of retail establishments on September 18th and 19th due to the passing of Hurricane Humberto”

    Seriously?

    “Additionally, motor vehicle sales are significantly down due to myriad factors. … Secondly, there is an emerging second-hand car purchasing market that also circumvents the direct sales from distributors”

    The second-had car market has existed for 15 years or more.

  7. Rockfish555 says:

    Glad we had that 0.01% increase in GDP otherwise I would be worried about these figures

  8. Trump supporter says:

    Flip flop flip flopping again. Guys are clueless.

  9. Triangle Drifter says:

    As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise”.

  10. Um Um Like says:

    The sales of building materials is down partially due to a hurricane hitting. How foolish do you think the voters are? Oh wait…

  11. frustrated says:

    Still not concerned? Furbert comes up with an embarrassing selection of excuses, yet the bottom line is we are seeing a year on year decrease since the PLP came to power.

    Compare that to the year on year increases witnessed under the OBA.

    For the hard of understanding, decrease/declining/falling = bad. BAD.

    When is this madness going to stop??? When are they going to do something to increase the population???

  12. Donderered says:

    Furbert’s excuses are hilarious!

  13. Toadinthehole says:

    Where are november abd december figures? Are you drilling down on those as well or maybe you are explaining them to jason hayward?

  14. Red rose says:

    1. Sales hit by shorter hours due to humberto – but he completely overlooks how everyone stocks up before a hurricane hits!

    2. Online sales fall as well – people have less money!

    3. He tries to explain away car sales dropping by a whopping 26 percent on a few people buying directlt from overseas and the other reasons he gives are because people either cannot afford to buy new or buy at all!

    God help us if his reasoning took all this time. A child could ‘drill down’ on these figures in five minutes!

  15. DeOnion says:

    Mr Furbert your explanations are an embarrassment to your office. For goodness sake go!

  16. Cow Polly says:

    This is a bizarre excuse:
    As an example, it should be noted that the decrease in retail sales reported in September 2019 when compared with September 2018 can be partly attributed to the shortened opening hours of retail establishments on September 18th and 19th due to the passing of Hurricane Humberto.
    Did Furbert, like the rest of Bermuda, rush to the shops to make sure we had enough supplies? I know I did, yet he discounts that.

    This fails to understand why people are shopping less:
    But, residents can greatly assist our retailers by supporting their businesses and purchasing items and products right here in Bermuda.”
    Mr Furbert we have less cash in our pockets and, remember, consumer confidence is at a five year low

    Again, this fails to take into account other underlying factors:
    “Additionally, motor vehicle sales are significantly down due to myriad factors. Firstly, buyers are choosing to bypass dealerships and purchase directly from overseas markets [i.e. taxi operators]. Secondly, there is an emerging second-hand car purchasing market that also circumvents the direct sales from distributors. Additionally, people are keeping their cars much longer.”
    A small number are going directly overseas (taxis – note, he does not mention cars), but people are holding on to their cars for longer because they don’t have the cash or are concerned about the future of the economy! The same with second hand cars.

    He completely overlooks the fact that online sales are down – ie people are spending less and yet still tries to tell us to buy locally!

    And he wanted to drill down on these figures??!!.

  17. Jack Archer says:

    Mr Furbert wanted to wait to drill down on the figures LOLOL – and it took this long to come up with his reasons?! You could not make this stuff up!

    • wahoo says:

      He is a junior minister. What does the real/senior minister have to say about this? Giving the retailers tax breaks to fight a failing economy is like fighting cancer with a box of band-aids.

  18. Eve says:

    The Minister didn’t have to “drill down” to look for excuses for the decline in retail sales, he just needed to admit that “residents” find living in Bermuda too costly. The Island’s economic health relies in large part to the resident’s support. The Government needs too stop hitting ‘snooze’ and wake-up and do something about the cost-of-living.

  19. Sandgrownan says:

    The end result of almost 20 years of PLP mismanagement, incompetence, and xenophobia.

    Tick tick. This is the PLP status quo

  20. Me says:

    Titanic island

  21. Me says:

    He know figures very well get him to explain a pyrimid scheme

  22. Triangle Drifter says:

    If it has taken 3 months to publish these figures the Minister needs a new drill bit. That or a new drill is needed. This one is obviously broken or has an inept operator.

    Three months behind in figures for such a tiny economy. Good grief!

  23. steve says:

    Hey Mr Furbert, here’s one for the next retail index press release… “there were significantly more Sundays in this period than in the previous 8 years hence the Decline” give it a shot!

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