Retail sales register hike in latest DDEC report

By The Star Staff

Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Manuel Cidre Miranda said Monday that March sales reflected a 49.6% increase when compared to sales in March 2020.

According to the most recent retail sales report, prepared by DDEC, it is the 10th consecutive increase in sales recorded at an annual rate.

“Sales registered for the month of March 2021 amounted to $3.0 billion dollars, which reflects a rebound in activity compared to March 2020, where the effects of the lockdown due to COVID-19 had already begun to be felt, resulting in the temporary closure of thousands of commercial establishments in Puerto Rico,” Cidre said.

One year after those events, steps have been taken in the right direction to generate and incentivize economic activity, he said.

The hike is the result of higher personal consumption spending tied to recovery funds, federal and state aid distributed to the public and businesses to face the pandemic, and the flow of federal funds related to reconstruction, Cidre said.

Almost all store segments reported significant percentage increases but the following stand out: patio and garden equipment stores (+6,369.3%), specialty food stores (+841.7%), and auto parts stores (+499.2%).

Likewise, the furniture sector experienced a rise of 142.6%, department stores and other miscellaneous items grew 66.6%, and restaurants and bars experienced an increase in their sales of 57%, while the new and used motor vehicles sector increased by 33.6%.

Cidre noted that establishments that reported the most reductions in March 2021 at an annual rate were those that in March 2020 managed to remain open because they were classified as essential for daily living and managed to sell quantities significantly above their typical sales.

They were: supermarkets and alcoholic beverage stores (-92.6%), pharmacies and drug stores (-80.9%), and hardware stores and household materials (-35.3%).

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