MP Michael Scott On Retail Sales Volume

May 30, 2019

“Global trends show that the traditional brick and mortar retail entities of the past are dwindling in favour of alternate models such as online shopping,” PLP MP Michael Scott said, adding that the “only answer the OBA has given to address the retail sector’s woes are for a return to the OBA/Michael Fahy approach of opening the immigration floodgates and pushing unemployed and underemployed Bermudians to the sidelines.”

Mr Scott’s comments follow after Shadow Finance Minister Nick Kempe said that twelve consecutive months of falls in retail sales volume are a “direct result of Government policies,” with Senator Kempe saying that a “clear and welcoming immigration policy is needed” and the Government “has failed to control its spending, it has increased the cost of living and failed to stimulate the economy.”

MP Michael Scott said, “As the OBA continues to strive for relevance we see their continued attempts to try and create an issue through which they may be able to divide Bermudians, we are equally concerned regarding the fall in retail sales.

“This phenomenon is not unique to Bermuda as global trends show that the traditional brick and mortar retail entities of the past are dwindling in favour of alternate models such as online shopping.

“In Bermuda, for years Bermudian consumers have complained about pricing, customer service levels and the range or variety of products or garments available on the island. We all know there are malls on the east coast that have come to know Bermudians and their buying power exceptionally well. With the advent of online shopping as a viable option, it is clear that this global trend will continue to factor into local retail sales

“A factor that is further driving the decline of retail spending is the impact that greed in the form of annually increasing health insurance costs and increasing interests rates on mortgages are having on Bermudian buying power.

“For those reasons, the PLP has championed the introduction of a living wage, the creation of less expensive mortgage options and tackling the cost of health insurance. All items that the OBA has opposed and all items that would put more money in Bermudians’ pockets and which would, by extension contribute to increased spending on our economy.

“Economic Trends for 2018 Domestic Demand and Personal Consumption and the Retail Sector were highlighted in the 2018 National Economic Report [NER] published in February of this year. The Report had this to say ;

“Employment income supports consumption and is estimated to have decreased by 0.6 % for the first three quarters of 2018 compared with the same period in 2017 ” The Americas Cup year we remember.

“This information was shared with the country during the Budget Statement, and it bears repeating in light of the intellectually bankrupt and cynical series of assertions assigning as the causes of the retail sectors lackluster performance by the OBA’s Mr. Kempe.

“The year over year level of employment income again according to the, 2018 National Economic Report of Bermuda declined by 1.6% during the first quarter and 1.4 during the second quarter but increased by 1.4 in the third quarter of 2018.

“Today in 2019 we report that employment income remains up and GDP for the 4th quarter is up, and there are more jobs in Bermuda than when the PLP took over, a modest gain, but it displays that the OBA’s narrative of ‘lack of confidence’ simply defies belief and the numbers.

“Furthermore the only answer the OBA has given to address the retail sector’s woes are for a return to the OBA/Michael Fahy approach of opening the immigration floodgates and pushing unemployed and underemployed Bermudians to the sidelines in our own country.

“It is clear that we need more Bermudians working, more Bermudians making more money and more Bermudians spending in our economy.

“The PLP has offered solutions, including diversifying the economy, and importantly putting more money in Bermudians pockets following the work of the Living Wage Commission and addressing the greed that is driving up mortgage rates, health insurance rates and the cost of essentials.

“The OBA, the ‘great defenders’ of the status quo and the elite and privileged have opposed every single initiative while continuing to push their agenda to open the immigration floodgates.

“We further encourage the retail sector and wholesalers to listen to what Bermudians are saying in reference to pricing, and mark ups, quality of customer service, better inventory management and the variety of products available.

“While the retail sector is facing a global trend that poses a threat to their current approach, and existing and new entrants will become and must become more responsive, innovative and willing to adapt the way that some businesses are, they will prosper and be well positioned to benefit when more Bermudians are employed, have more money in their pocket are benefiting from lower mortgages and enjoying lower healthcare costs.”

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Comments (49)

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  1. truthertz says:

    “tackling the cost of health insurance”

    This is a joke right? The PLP’s ‘tackling’ has resulted in my monthly premiums to skyrocket by 15% starting June 1st. That means I will have around $2k less a year to spend in the real economy. Now multiply that by approximately 30,000 policy holders.

    Also, why did MP Scott conveniently omit the fact that his Government just about raised every tax and Government fee possible making this already expensive island that much more expensive?

    It is the Government’s greed that is the primary driver behind the poor economic state and not the private sector that you are milking at every opportunity.

    PLP you are failing and failing miserably. Not one thing has got better for the average Bermudian in your tenure thus far. Not one.

    • Double S says:

      Income is up 1% because of the 2.5% increase you gave to the public sector employees. Which means the private sector (you know the ones that pay the public sector wages) are not experiencing increases.

      Not everyone is a sheep Mr. Scott.

      • Onion Juice says:

        Well the private sector needs to demand an increase, but I guess you want de Union do that too.

        • sandgrownan says:

          Now that’s a peach!

        • question says:

          No, the private sector has to live in the real world. We can’t just raise taxes and make other people pay for an increase. We have to actually earn it. Not something you ever bother with.

        • Trending says:

          Stop demanding something that you haven’t worked for Onion Juice. Start earning and working instead of demanding and taking. A perfect example of what is wrong with your attitude is the bus drivers. For years many have refused to work, demanded and taken everything while abusing sick days, sick leave and downing tools for Union meeting.

          The end result, with now have a service that isn’t reliable, and well run. The management cant adapt and manage as needed. So why would the public been kind to the drivers and respect them. Why should we support them? Why would the management and ministers go out of their way to help when they have left kids, adults and seniors stranded MANY TIMES! This is the effect of demanding what you want instead or getting what you deserve. Eventually, nobody wants to be apart of your world.

        • wahoo says:

          I want you and de union to…..oh never mind.

    • Trending says:


      let me explain something to you.

      The average item import has a duty rate of 25%. Retailers with al their overhead PAY THE SAME F’N AMOUNT as everyone else buying online. So while the individual pays the same, the retailer must pay rent and utilities which is expected. However, YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS INCREASES EVERYTHING and made it impossible to survive.

      Payroll tax UP
      Import Duty UP
      Health insurance – WAY UP!
      Terminal Handling Fees – UP
      Government Package Tax – UP
      TCD – UP
      Social Insurance Up
      Foreign Currency Exchange Rates – UP
      Company Registration Fees Up-

      And if a business is fortunate enough to make a profit – you now want a piece of that too. You are now taking dividends.


      Are you and the PLP are clueless, deceptive or just don’t care.

      • Rockfish#2 says:

        This propaganda release from MP Scott begs the question.
        Are we better off under the present government?

        • toadinthehole says:


        • Onion says:

          No. We were better under the OBA. That’s a fact.

        • Mb says:

          Well alcohol sales are down too
          And nobody buys their vodka beers and rum online
          Ditto for cars
          I see Scott passed over that though
          Is it really ‘greed’ or is it less people here to spend so businesses are upping prices to continue growth?
          Scott makes much of expat floodgates but the data is there, 1 more expat = 2 or more jobs for bdns
          I understand the plus points and where coming from but they never address this FaCT they just ignore or dismiss

          • Ringmaster says:

            I think the message from the PLP/Government propaganda machine is that the drop in retail sales shows the cost of living is down. By their logic it’s cheaper to live because people are not spending as much. They also forgot to mention overseas purchases are static so people aren’t buying more overseas. Facts have an anti PLP bias.

  2. Politricks says:

    Can Mr. Scott please explain how the PLP’s decisions to raise foreign currency purchase tax, raise duty rates, introduce a sugar tax, increase insurer’s MRF tax by 225%, imposition of higher commercial land tax, increase the financial services tax and all other fee and tax hikes hasn’t contributed to the 12 month decline in retail sales or the growth in health care costs?

  3. sandgrownan says:

    Ah, so they wheeled out Michael Scott for the “it’s not our fault, nothing we can do response” while ignoring the elephant in the room and playing the immigration boogeyman card.

    Meanwhile, in Cayman, it appears the reality is somewhat different.

    When are the PLP going to take their collective heads out of the sand and actually f*****g do something for Bermuda.

    • inna says:

      Answer: Never.

      We live among a substantial number of Bermudians who are perfectly content being screwed by their PLP government. Any other government has no chance.

      Where are the protests and marchers? It is high time to have people pounding the pavement!!

    • David says:

      I hear you, but can you really blame him/them? It’s an effective strategy. There are a lot of Bermudians out there who are addicted to this sort of rhetoric.

      Also- I thought the finance minister said that online sales are now incorporated in the retail sales figure. So not sure what MP Scott is on about re: online shopping and shopping overseas.

      • steve says:

        when you got nothing and have done nothing all you got is “The other guy is worse” a stand guy wouldn’t have signed his name to above article.

    • PLPLEADER says:

      Thank you MR. Scott. These OBAUBPers want to destroy Bermuda and bring it back to the times of oppression and suffering before the great PLP got in to liberate its people in 1998. There has been nothing but progress and success for the community since then and the some just don’t like it so are complaining that their stores like Trimminghams are closing!!!!! PLP thank you for your hard work making bermuda a more equal and fair place!

    • Trending says:

      Good Point SANDGROWN – PLP Supporters – Take a look at the business section of the Cayman online newspaper and compare stories about the economy. They are our closest business rival.

  4. watching says:

    OBA makes it seem like the retail struggles only began last year, but if you see the trending for the past few years (save for the AC stimulus), this is not a surprise. Consumers have many options, traveling to abroad and ordering online are two of the main ones exercised.
    Mr. Scott is correct in his statements.

    • Double S says:

      So you think the PLP’s decision to raise just about every tax and Government fee has had no effect huh?

      No wonder the PLP loves and stick to their base.

    • Trending says:

      How are you discounting the impact of AC35. When the OBA was governing you said AC35 was doing nothing for the economy. Now you call it a stimulus? The PLP said we were spending more than we would make and so on. Then the audited report comes out and you want to avoid the truth it! The PLP claimed to have all the fixes and many of us bought into it and voted for them.

      You even had Pastors march and organizing on the PLPs behalf! Now where is he? If there are no marches and not even one single meeting or march organized since the PLP was elected are we to assume that he is happy with the way things are? Or was it all a political lie. And many wonder why our youth no longer attend Church.

      • inna says:

        I was thinking the same thing about a certain pastor. I was told that the gov’t is now “listening” to the people so there is no need for any protests and marches?!

    • toadinthehole says:

      the ac provided a stimulus that the PLP has failed to capitalize on – like gaming ….

  5. 2 Bermudas says:

    This Pee El Pee MP can spin all he likes but the fact is people are taking home less money than they did in 2017. Spin that!! How are people going to spend more if they have less money to behind with?!?!

    Pee El Pee – making Bermudians worse off since 1998!! Keep drinking de titty milk!! Hahahaha!!

  6. Bermuda Squabbles, Cayman Thrives says:

    Dangerous rhetoric and total denial and blame shifting on external factors.

    WE need to totally get real here. Mr. Scott is not an economist and he has no professional credentials to make this assessment.

    where is the Minister of finance on this–he has an investment banking background and should be speaking on it.

    This type of rhetoric is irresponsible and damaging to the country’s future prospects.

    Not Helpful Michael Scott, not helpful at all…

    have the Premier seen this and approved the release of this statemetn?

  7. question says:

    The internet, and internet shopping, has existed for well over 15 years. It has been prevalent and commonplace for at least 10 years. So the internet does not explain why Bermuda retail sales were increasing when the OBA was the government, but are decreasing now that the PLP is the government.
    It’s the PLP blaming the boogyman again. They have no answers, no ideas, and no explanation. They are failures.

  8. Mr. Apathy says:

    Starting to believe that Mr. Scott’s mind lives in a utopian, parallel universe where everything in Bermuda is fine and dandy and it’s all because the PLP are an altruistic and solution-oriented force that puts all Bermudian people above party and dogma.

    The sad reality is the PLP is increasing the cost of living for all Bermudians through a myriad of taxes and tax increases, simply because it has no other avenues of revenue creation to sustain the bloated civil service payroll monster the PLP was more than happy to bolster after winning the 2017 election. Greed is apparently fine for Mr. Scott, so long as it is the Government leading the charge with taking money out of Bermudian families’ pockets!

    Get real and come back to Earth please, Mr. Scott… The only way the country is going get better on all fronts, is the day you and your compatriots have the collective realisation that ALL Bermudians should and MUST be put above the party.

  9. Joe Bloggs says:

    Mr. Scott, with respect, your opinion states number of generalities without any specifics and demonstrates a shocking lack of understanding of basic economic reality. As a seasoned politician Bermudians expect more from you.

  10. Donderered says:

    This is an insult to our intelligence

  11. Clem says:

    “Opening the immigration floodgates” 

    No one has proposed to do that. Why must politicians in Bermuda be so reactionary and anti immigrant.

    The politician is right to point out the demise of retail sales, but most jurisdictions have a plan to reduce and redress the imbalance. I note that he had none. That is hardly putting Bermudians first. What is the PLP doing to increase internal demand for goods and services besides increasing the size of the civil service?

    • toadinthehole says:

      agreed, all rhetoric no plan. where is the PLP’s plan?

  12. jah says:

    but we are all struggling under all the PLP taxes, spin it whatever way we broke”r”

  13. Dready says:

    The PLP only take care of their politicians whilst the sheeple pay for their spending on themselves. Bermudians, wake up!

  14. trump supporter says:

    Wow they are all clueless, flip flop has more company now.

  15. Onion Peels says:

    Online sales of food and liquor must explain the decline in local sales in those sectors right?

    Same for motor vehicles?
    And service stations?

    This whole article is nothing but an example of utter stupidity.

    • Double S says:

      You don’t order your food, liquor and gas online?

      You’re just a PLP hater pointing out these facts.

  16. Results speak louder than words says:

    The Gvt can speak as much and as loudly as it wants BUT it won’t change the reality that its policies have directly and negatively impacted ALL Bermudians while increasing the cost of doing business in the country.

    This will have an adverse affect on new companies coming to the Island that would have otherwise broadened the Gvt’s revenue generation base.

    It is clear that the Gvt is concerned that they are loosing the support of the country–thus the echo chamber is being fired up by the Gvt communication staff.

    See it for what it is Bermuda!

  17. OBA hitting a nerve says:

    as the spin machine is revving up into high gear.

    Keep asking the questions OBA…

    • Toodle-oo says:

      And the questions will be ignored as they will be accused of politricking , grandstanding and electioneering . More issues will be swept under the rug never to be answered as in 1998 – 2012 and the plp support base will gobble it up with childish 25-11 responses .
      All the while we’re ALL becoming more destitute by the day.

    • Solid says:

      Yup keep asking why the OBA lost that last and next election! The answer is elitist arrogance!

      • Proof says:

        This is proof of the spin machine whining into action! I appreciate you Solid.

        Fact is Bermudians are not better off than we were 2 years ago and the future prospects for new business are not strong.

        The criticism is warranted and the GVT or supporters should not take it so personally.

        If they/we are failing to make a meaningful difference. So be it. Change course and try something different. Repeating the same things that don’t work will have the same results.

  18. Justin says:

    “This phenomenon is not unique to Bermuda as global trends show that the traditional brick and mortar retail entities of the past are dwindling in favour of alternate models such as online shopping.

    “In Bermuda, for years Bermudian consumers have complained about pricing, customer service levels and the range or variety of products or garments available on the island. We all know there are malls on the east coast that have come to know Bermudians and their buying power exceptionally well. With the advent of online shopping as a viable option, it is clear that this global trend will continue to factor into local retail sales.”

    Except, even accounting for the fractional increases in online sales in January and February, retail sales value would still be down $1.3M for February and $1M for January.


    This subject of this story is about retail sales – not immigration


  20. Eldon says:

    As a retailer, one of the biggest problems we face is successive Governments taking us for granted… Bricks and mortar is changing and there is a genuine desire on my part to evolve – branding my name, online presence and shop, etc. ,But quite honestly, I’m inclined not make the investment because the politicians – that is all of them on both sides – are clueless as to what it takes to succeed and still see us a bunch of 40 Thieves and a dumping ground for anybody’s unemployable kid. This little rant by Michael, who I quite like most of the time, just proves the point.

  21. Mb says:

    Eldon, not one single store in Bermuda offers online shopping
    I prefer to online shop iand not waste my time finding parking and going from one store to next
    I would like to see all items online then order for pick up or delivery
    So tell me if u all so interested in change why are none of you online???

  22. Y-gurl says:

    @ Mr Scott, it’s better to keep quiet and let people think your a fool rather than open your mouth and confirm our thoughts