Puerto Rico’s retail sales reach $2.8B in Feb., up 4.8% YOY
Puerto Rico’s retail sales reached $2.8 billion in February, representing a 4.8% year-over-year gain when compared to the same month in 2022, according to the Retail Sales Survey of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce’s (DDEC, in Spanish) Business Intelligence Division.
The report attributed the reasons for consumers maintaining their spending to a growing and stable labor market, the stabilization of energy prices and declines in gasoline prices, among other favorable factors. These elements maintain positive consumer confidence, resulting in the continued increase in consumption, the report stated.
The groups with the highest reported increases were electronics stores (+93.2%); cosmetics, beauty products and perfume stores (+19.4%); clothing stores (+14.4%); hardware stores and household materials (+13%); and auto parts stores (+12.5%).
Meanwhile, the groups that experienced the greatest reductions were: yard and garden equipment stores (-23%); pharmacies and drugstores (-9.3%); and sports, musical instruments and entertainment stores (-7%).
Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) reached $861.9 million in sales during the period, a 21.9% year-over-year jump.
“SME retail sales continue to show consumer optimism about the economy. The historical numbers that we see in unemployment, and the positive indices in industries such as manufacturing and tourism have carried weight with consumers despite inflation, and that is why this behavior has been seen in sales,” said DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre.
“In February 2023, [sales] reached $861.9 million, increasing 21.9%. During that month, the sales of medium-sized companies registered an increase of 26%. The sales of the SMEs represented 31.0% of all retail sales, compared to the same month of the previous year with 26.6%,” he said.
As for the accrued value of retail sales so far in fiscal year 2023 (July-February), an increase of 3.3% was registered compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year. To date in this fiscal year, sales have reached $25.1 billion.
The groups with the highest reported increases were restaurants and places that sell alcoholic beverages (+13.8%); fuel distributors (+11.4%); electronics stores, (+7.7%); supermarkets and alcoholic beverage stores (+7.4%); department stores and other miscellaneous items (+5.1%); and pharmacies and drugstores (+4.8%). Hardware and household materials increased +4.5%.
The stores that experienced reductions were sports, musical instruments and entertainment (-13.3%); new and used motor vehicle dealerships (-11.4%); yard and garden equipment (-8.8%); and shoe stores (-2%).
When analyzing the accumulated value of retail sales during the first two months of 2023, there was a 4.3% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, reaching a total of $5.6 billion.
Always good information on NIMB. An interesting exercise would be to compare YOY sales growth net of inflation. With a 2023 average inflation figure hovering around 5% and specifically food inflation trending above 10%, the add-on of the variables may show a more realistic growth number. Income is not growing at the pace of inflation, so it is a good exercise to see if the actual sales increase is real or just a figure reflecting the typical price “inflation tax”.