Puerto Rico’s retail sales were down 3 percent year-over-year in July — the most recent statistic available for the sector — when some $2.94 billion in activity was reported. The number is about $8.6 million lower than the $2.95 billion on record for July 2012, according to Puerto Rico Trade and Export, the government agency in charge of tracking retail figures.
In the report released Wednesday, the agency listed variety stores, paint, glass and wallpaper goods stores, and furniture stores as having the biggest drops, at 20 percent, 12.7 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Regional sales, which are also tracked, showed that Caguas took a hit during the summer month, with a 1.94 percent drop, while the Mayagüez region saw a 3.3 percent improvement in retail activity.
The report also showed that accrued retail activity — from January to July 2013 — remained virtually flat at 0.17 percent when compared to the same period a year earlier. During the first seven months of this year, retail activity exceeded $20.5 billion, down $34.4 million from the $20.6 billion reported for the January-July 2012 period.
Again, the Caguas region saw a significant sales drop of 5.75 percent, with $209 million in lower sales, while the San Juan region saw a 3.04 percent year-over-year growth, with $6.4 billion in retail activity.
So far this year, so-called “mom and pop” operations — with payrolls of $20,000 or less — have been affected the most, with a 4.4 percent drop in retail activity. During the first seven months of the year, these small businesses have generated $265.1 million less in sales, or $5.7 billion, when compared to the same year-ago period, when sales stood at $5.9 billion, the Puerto Rico Trade and Export report shows.