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Puerto Rico retail sales up 49.6% in YoY in March to $3B

Puerto Rico’s retail sales exceeded $3 billion in March 2021, reflecting a 49.6% year-over-year increase, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) confirmed.

The agency’s most recent retail sales report shows this is the 10th consecutive sales increase recorded at an annual rate. Sales for March 2020 were recorded at a little more than $2 billion, according to the report.

“Sales registered for the month of March 2021 amounted to $3.072 billion, which reflects a rebound in activity compared to March 2020, when the effects of the lockdown due to COVID-19 had already begun to be felt, and the temporary closure of thousands of commercial establishments in Puerto Rico,” said DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre.

“One year after these events, steps have been taken in the right direction to generate and incentivize economic activity,” he said.

“This, together with higher personal consumption spending tied to recovery funds, federal and state aid to face the pandemic, and the flow of federal funds related to the reconstruction processes, will continue to drive consumer spending in the months to come,” Cidre predicted.

Almost all retail segments reported significant percentage increases, with the following standing out: Patio and garden equipment stores (+6,369.3%); specialty food stores (+841.7%); and auto parts stores (+499.2%).

Likewise, the furniture sector experienced a growth of 142.6%; department stores and other miscellaneous items grew 66.6%, restaurants and places that sell alcoholic beverages experienced an increase in their sales of 57.0%; and the sector of new and used motor vehicles increased 33.6%, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the establishments that reported the biggest drops in March 2021 at an annual rate are those who during the same month last year were able to remain open because they were classified as “essential” and recorded above normal sales for that month. They were: supermarkets and alcoholic beverage stores (-92.6%); pharmacies and drug stores (-80.9%); and hardware stores and household materials (-35.3%).

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

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