Puerto Rico’s retail sales for the first 10 months of 2010 exceeded $28.5 billion, reflecting a slight year-over-year growth of 1.26 percent, according to the latest figures revealed by Puerto Rico Trade on Tuesday. Through October 2009, retail sales reached $28.2 billion.
Despite the overall growth, there were still several retail segments that suffered from the ongoing economic pinch, namely grocery stores, children and men’s clothing stores, and office supply and toy stores, with drops of 12.1 percent, 11.2 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively. The grocery store segment in particular experienced great changes in 2010, with the disappearance after 40 years of the Grande supermarket chain and the downsizing of the Pueblo chain, which sold several stores to competitors including Econo regional retailers.
On the other hand, automobile sales — both new and used — showed a 12.6 percent growth during the 10-month period, coinciding with industry comments that the segment is healthy. Gasoline stations also showed a double-digit growth of 23 percent, with sales reaching the $2.8 billion mark in 10 months.
The government’s statistics also show that retail employees earned a little more last year, when the global payroll figure topped the $28.5 billion mark, up 1.26 percent from what was paid out during the same 10-month period in 2009.
Unsurprisingly, however, the statistics show that mid-sized businesses – those whose payrolls fluctuate between $20,000 and $250,000 a year — saw a reduction in their payrolls of 1.62 percent, year-over-year.
In October 2010, local retail sales exceeded the $2.9 billion, reflecting a 1.95 percent year-over-year increase in comparison to the $2.8 billion reported for the same month in 2009.
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.