Puerto Rico Trade and Export announced Tuesday a new methodology and sampling to be used to develop the island’s retail sales report, looking to publish a more accurate result by Puerto Rico’s commercial establishments, the agency’s executive director Ricardo Llerandi said.
“The new methodology will not affect budget revenue or fiscal plan estimates. The purpose is to publish a more reliable projection on the commercial sector’s sales performance as the data will be collected directly from the Treasury Department through the payment of Sales and Use Tax,” Llerandi said.
“In contrast to the previous methodology, which was completely manual and based on surveys to retailers, which delayed the process and did not consider the closure of businesses, so it posed unreliable information,” Llerandi added.
Meanwhile, Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Manuel Laboy said “the government of Puerto Rico uses the best methodology and the most accurate information. Numbers were revised in coordination with the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics, La Fortaleza, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce and Treasury to inform more accurate and reliable results.”
The methodology was first unveiled in 2014 by the previous administration, but was never implemented. Instead, the government continued to publish the sales report with the methodology of 2005, so the retail sales results were overestimated, government officials said.
The additional changes in the methodology are:
- The new sample includes the universe of “big chains” (including local and foreign.) This is not provided for the previous sample, which divided companies into small, medium and large.
- The prior sample was of 2,323 establishments, while the new sample contains 1,145 firms totaling more than 6,000 establishments. The difference is that in the previous sales sample, large chains were considered individually and in the new sample they are considered part of a single company. The new sample contains 466 chains and 679 individual businesses.
- Businesses will now be classified through 18 layers of the North American Industry Classification System. Previously, companies were classified according to the Standard Industrial Classification system that was eliminated in the United States more than 10 years ago.
The release of monthly sales reports should be quicker, with Llerandi vowing to have the numbers out quarterly, within 20 days after the quarter ends.