Puerto Rico Retail Sales Up 4% in January

Intelligent Economics > Analysis > Puerto Rico Retail Sales Up 4% in January
Sales in January (millions of $)2020202120222021-2022 Change
Supermarkets$              339$                343$           39014%
Pharmacies$                82$                179$           20414%
Restaurants$              159$                161$           15414%
Gas Stations & Convenience Stores$              177$                126$           1314%
Department Stores$              717$                848$           8996%
Total Retail Sales$           2,467$             2,563$        2,6674%

Source: Puerto Rico Economic Development Department

Retail sales in Puerto Rico for the month of January 2022 reached a total of $2.667 billion. Compared to January 2021, sales increased by $103 million, or 4%. Compared to January 2020, sales increased by $200 million, or 8%.

The categories with the largest year over year percentage increases were special food stores (53.9%), fuel distributors (33.6%), and electronics and appliance stores (25.9%). The largest absolute increases in sales relative to 2021 were department stores ($50 million), supermarkets ($46 m), and pharmacies ($25 m).

The categories with the largest year over year decreases in sales were sporting good and hobby stores (33.3%), furniture stores (20.9%), and hardware stores (17.4%).

Compared to January 2020, the following categories had lower sales in January 2022:

Supermarket sales have continued to increase. Nominal sales show an increase of 14.8% compared to January 2020. Adjusting for inflation takes away most of this growth, showing instead a 6.6% real increase in sales.

Source: Puerto Rico Economic Development Department

Even with the increase in COVID cases due to the omicron variant, and the decrease in economic activity due to it, retail sales still increased. And as we saw with supermarket sales, even with inflation currently above 4%, sales still increased. Given the over $60 billion in COVID transfers to individuals that happened in 2020 and 2021, we may still be experiencing the spillover effects of the increased liquidity provided by these funds. These funds running out, coupled with decreasing consumer confidence, could lead to lower retail sales as we finish the first quarter of 2022.

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