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Puerto Rico’s retail sales up 3.8% Y-O-Y in January to $2.8B

Puerto Rico retail sales for the month of January reached $2.8 billion, representing a 3.8% jump when compared to the same month last year, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) revealed.

The groups with the highest reported increases were restaurants and alcoholic beverage establishments (+25.9%), furniture stores (+24.6%), clothing stores (+19.1%), footwear (+16.7%) and electronic items (+11.3%). The groups with reported drops were new and used motor vehicles (-7.6%), pharmacies and drugstores (-7.4%), hardware stores and household materials (-6.0%), fuel distributors (-1.4%) and gas stations, and convenience stores (-1.2%).

In a nutshell, the report indicated that economic activity showed the usual uptick associated with the Christmas season.

“The improvement of the [COVID-19] health crisis, stability of the labor market, stabilization in energy prices and drops in gasoline prices were some of the factors that influenced the increase in sales,” the report noted. “This occurs even within a scenario of inflationary uncertainty, high interest rates and moderate economic growth prospects for 2023.”

The segments that experienced sales increases are related to recreational activities, leisure and Christmas purchases of non-durable items. Meanwhile, the areas that experienced drops in prices such as fuel, spurred decreases in the income generated by gasoline stations and their distributors.

As for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in January they achieved sales of $710.5 million, reflecting 13.3% growth, while midsize businesses posted a 4.9% drop. Sales by large non-chain establishments increased 28%, as did large chains with 1%, the report noted.

Meanwhile, the accrued value of retail sales for the first seven months of fiscal year 2023 (July to January), which reached a total of $22.4 billion, “represents an increase of 3.1% compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year of 2022. These numbers are very positive for commerce in general, especially for SMEs that have been recovering after the pandemic,” DDEC Secretary Manuel Cidre said.

The groups with the highest increases during the fiscal year 2023 period were restaurants and businesses selling alcoholic beverages (+14.4%), fuel distributors (+13.5%), supermarkets and alcoholic beverage stores (+7.8%), pharmacies and drugstores (+6.8%), and department stores and miscellaneous items (+5%).

Meanwhile, the stores that experienced drops during this fiscal period were sports, musical instruments, entertainment (-14.1%), new and used motor vehicles (-12.5%), yard and garden equipment stores (-6%), footwear (-2.5%), and cosmetics, beauty products and perfumes (-1.5%).


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