Puerto Rico retail sales for the month of October 2015 — the most recent available from the government — showed a 3 percent drop in comparison to the same month in 2014, to $3.1 billion.
In its latest report, Puerto Rico Trade and Export confirmed the island’s activity shrank by $96.7 million in October in comparison to the $3.2 billion on record for October 2014.
The establishments showing the biggest sales drops were gasoline stations (-18.2 percent), jewelry stores (-5.6 percent), electronics stores (-4.03 percent) and hardware stores (-3.02 percent), said agency Executive Director Francisco Chévere.
“But 10 commercial sectors registered increases in sales, including general department stores, with 4.09 percent, clothing stores for youth and men, with 3.9 percent, and women’s clothing stores, with 3.6 percent,” he said.
The drop in sales comes several months after the government increase the island’s sales and use tax to 11.5 percent from 7 percent, for most goods sold at the retail level.
In terms of regional activity, Aguadilla, Mayagüez and Arecibo were the only ones to register sales increases with 9.17 percent, 2.39 percent and .25 percent, respectively year-over-year in October. On the other hand, the regions showing the greatest contractions were Bayamón, with -6.89 percent, Guayama with -5.70 percent, and Fajardo with -5.62 percent.
Total cumulative sales from January to October 2015 totaled $30.9 billion, a reduction of $411 million, or -1.31 percent, when compared to the same period in 2014, when sales exceeded $31.3 billion.