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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – More than 11,950 companies closed their doors in the state of Rio de Janeiro last year, 25.2 percent more than in 2015, according to data released on Wednesday by the Rio de Janeiro Shopkeepers Club (CDL Rio ).

Stores close, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
More than 11,500 stores closed their doors in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro state, photo internet recreation.

Among the reasons for closing their doors, shopkeepers name lack of public safety and a drastic reduction in retail sales.

“We are still in high unemployment and unemployment directly affects the commercial movement, because people who do not have jobs have no work, can not buy, can not consume,” CDL Rio president, Aldo Gonçalves, was quoted as saying by a government news agency.

The latest data from CDL shows that retail sales fell by 6.6 percent from January to December of 2016, falling every month of the year. The decline led to the worst year in retail sales in the state since 2003.

With the very negative performances, many shops were unable to stay financially afloat and closed their doors. In December alone, more than 1,200 companies were shut down across the state.

Shopkeepers in the city of Rio de Janeiro list violence, unemployment and construction works (in the first half of the year due to the 2016 Olympics) as the main reasons for the decline in revenues. The bad moment of the economy as a whole, they say, was decisive for the closing of the great number of shops.

“Among the factors which influenced the decline in sales in 2016 are lack of public security, construction works and the change in traffic flows, especially in the Centro and Zona Sul,” noted CDL in its January/February newsletter.

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