Retail sales skyrocketed nearly 10% in May

  • Retail booster: the influx of visitors for the America's Cup helped to boost retailers' takings in May

Christmas-style spending came early in Bermuda as the America’s Cup boosted May retail sales by close to 10 per cent to $106.7 million.

It is the biggest single increase in at least nine years — before the global financial crisis in 2008.

The Retail Sales Index for the month showed a 9.8 per cent increase over the same month last year, or 8.4 per cent after inflation is factored in.

The figure compared to a 2 per cent fall in the same month last year, while December 2016 logged a 3 per cent increase to $108.9 million.

All sectors except motor vehicle sales showed an increase, with the “all other stores” category showing a 15.8 per cent increase in sales receipts.

The America’s Cup started on May 27 and finished a month later, attracting thousands of visitors to the island.

When overseas purchases by residents, which totalled $5 million, are included, the total spend for May was $111.7 million.

Marine and boat supplies stores, part of the all other stores category, saw a massive leap in gross receipts for the month — up 64.8 per cent.

Receipts for furniture, appliances and electronics went up by 22.6 per cent and other miscellaneous sales rose by 9.4 per cent.

Pharmacies reported 6.5 per cent increase in sales revenue.

After including inflation, the all other stores category went up 16.4 per cent.

The clothing stores category saw a 14.8 per cent increase in sales, largely attributed to sales of America’s Cup merchandise.

That compared to a fall of 7.5 per cent recorded for the same month in 2016.

Receipts from the sale of building materials rose 12 per compared to May last year, the result of bigger demand due to building projects. After adjustment for inflation, the sales volume went up 12.1 per cent.

Sales of liquor and food also rose, with liquor sales recording an 8.6 per cent rise, while food sales increased by 7.3 per cent.

Those increases were attributed to an extra shopping day over the month and demand from visiting yachts and boats.

By volume — after inflation — sales of liquor and food went up 2.6 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.

Service stations also saw an increase in sales value by 15.2 per cent compared to May 2016. The increase was attributed partly to a 7.9 per increase in the price of fuel.

After inflation adjustment, the sales volume in the service station sector rose by 6.8 per cent.

Motor vehicle sellers, however, saw a 10.1 per cent decrease in sales receipts, put down to a 10.5 per cent fall in the volume of sales.