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Puerto Rico retail sales up 13% YoY to $2.6B in Feb. ’21

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Puerto Rico’s retail activity was bustling in February, when they grew by 13% in comparison to the same month in 2020. The Department of Economic Development and Commerce’s (DDEC, in Spanish) Retail Sales Report showed sales reached $2.6 billion.

This is the ninth recorded increase in sales at an annual rate, all consecutively and the strongest for a month of February since 2018. In addition to the nine increases reported, six of them have been double digits, said DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre.

The Retail Sales Report is generated by the DDEC’s Office of Economic Analysis and Business Intelligence Market Research and Economics Division.

“The reported rallies in retail sales have been sustained month after month, which in part has been stimulated by higher spending related to recovery funds, federal and state aid to face the pandemic, a push in prices with inflation under control and greater consumer purchasing power,” said Cidre.

“The factors related to the influx of funds related to the reconstruction processes, COVID-19 and to individuals, should be stimulating and driving consumer spending in the coming months as well,” he said.

Retail sales by small and medium-sized companies reached $751.4 million, increasing by 19.5% at an annual rate. Sales by that sector represented 29.1% of all retail sales in February 2021. For the same month in 2020, the growth was 27.5%, Cidre said.

The Report confirmed that the accumulated value of retail sales during the first eight months of Fiscal Year 2021 (July-February) showed an increase of 11.5%, compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year, when $22.7 billion was reported. Virtually all sectors continue to show increases during the current period of Fiscal Year 2021, the report showed.

“However, while this is good news, we cannot depend exclusively on funds aimed at mitigating the pandemic and rebuilding Puerto Rico. We have to look further, because those funds will not be eternal, nor will the pandemic,” Cidre said.

“We’re working to strengthen the environment for doing business in Puerto Rico, firstly, supporting local companies, strengthening the supply chain ecosystem, and updating processes and initiatives that are in tune with the times we’re living in,” said Cidre.

The study confirmed that there were significant percentage increases in the following segments: patio and garden equipment stores (+111.5%); sports, musical instruments and entertainment stores (+98.2%); furniture stores (+78.4%); hardware stores and household materials (+59.5%); and specialty food stores (+43.3%). Jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores grew 37.8%.

New and used motor vehicle establishments increased 31.5% and auto parts stores 30.8%. Department stores and other miscellaneous items increased by 8.8%, and supermarkets and alcoholic beverage stores reported an increase of 6%. Pharmacies and drug stores reported a 4.2% increase.

On the other hand, the establishments that reported the most reductions in February 2021 were gas stations and convenience stores (-16.0%), electronic goods stores (-4.9%), and restaurants and establishments selling alcoholic beverages (-2.7%).

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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