The reduction was attributed to the near completion of construction projects. *iStock photo
The reduction was attributed to the near completion of construction projects. *iStock photo

Retail sales fell 1.0 per cent in December. According to the Department of Statistics, this was a $1.1 million decline and adjusted for inflation, the volume fell 3.7 per cent.

Retail sales volume for 2012 was down as nine of the 12 months registered declines.

Sales activity increased in four of the seven sectors for December but with the building materials stores showing a decline in volume of 33.5 per cent, it dragged down the rest of the index with it.

The reduction was attributed to the near completion of construction projects such as the redevelopment of King Edward Memorial Hospital and a decrease in residential construction.

Apparel stores saw a decline in sales of 7.5 per cent with retailers attributing the weak sales performance “to consumers focusing more on the December political election with the absence of in-store incentives compared to December 2011”.

Food sales were up 5.9 per cent in December while liquor stores reported a 0.1 per cent increase.

A total of 17 more cars were sold in December 2012 compared to 2011, which led to an increase of 37.9 per cent in the Motor Vehicle Sector by 37.9 per cent.

The number of motorcycles sold declined by two.

A 4.3 per cent rise in the cost of fuel led to a 2.5 per cent increase in sales receipts for the Service Stations Sector.

Gross receipts for big-ticket items like furniture, appliances and electronics fell by 4.8 per cent while the sale of pharmaceutical products dipped by 4.1 per cent.

Residents returning to Bermuda declared overseas purchases valued at $7.4 million. This was a 21.3 per cent increase or $1.3 million more than December 2011, which was then under a 35 per cent duty tax at LF Wade International.

There were 24 shopping days in December, the same amount as there were in December 2011.