Puerto Rico retail sales started 2016 in a slump, reflecting a 3.71 percent year-over-year drop in January, or $113.3 million less than what was generated during the same month in 2015, Puerto Rico Trade and Export reported Wednesday.
Total retail sales January totaled $2.9 billion, while in 2015 this figure was a little more than $3 billion, agency Executive Director Francisco Chévere said.
The commercial establishments that reflected greater sales drops were: pharmacies (-14.36 percent;) clothing stores for youth and men (-9.85 percent;) jewelry stores (-8.29 percent;) and gas stations (-6.68 percent.)
Meanwhile, establishments that reflected greater increases in sales during the first month of the year were: office supplies and toy stores (10.36 percent;) cafes and restaurants (2.28 percent;) and other general merchandise stores (1.89 percent,) agency data shows.
When broken down by region, Ponce was the only one that recorded sales growth in January 2016, of 2.26 percent, when compared to the same month last year. In contrast, regions that recorded significant contractions were Caguas (-5.29 percent,) Guayama (-5.13 percent,) Mayagüez (-4.79 percent,) and San Juan (-4.50 percent.)
Small and mid-sized businesses saw a collective sales decrease of nearly $80 million in January 2016, or -3.69 percent when compared to the same month last year. Sales in this sector accounted for 70.3 percent of total retail sales in Puerto Rico.