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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Not even the Christmas season was able to overcome the continuing recession and lack of credit in Brazil, with Brazilian shopping mall retailers reporting negative sales results during this Christmas season. Sales in shopping malls fell by three percent this end of year, according to a survey released on Monday by the Brazilian Shopping Tenants Association (ALSHOP).

Brazil, São Paulo,Shopping center in São Paulo not as full as expected during this Christmas season,
Shopping center in São Paulo not as full as expected during this Christmas season, photo by Anderson Pereira/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The survey shows that consumers opted for smaller, less expensive gifts this year, leading to the decrease in sales of such items such as furniture and gifts for the home (-9 percent), technology and communication (-6.5 percent) and home appliances (-4.5 percent). The main increases were registered by the perfume and cosmetics segments (7.3 percent), jewelry and watches (3.5 percent) and footwear (three percent).

According to ALSHOP, the results of end-of-year sales at shopping malls were in line with what occurred throughout the year.

Due to difficulty in obtaining credit, rising unemployment, and uncertainty in relation to the political and economic situation of the country, retail sales declined. The entity showed that the reduction in sales within the sector was of 3.2 percent during the year, corresponding to losses over R$140.5 billion for retailers.

ALSHOP also released data that shows that although nineteen shopping malls were opened in 2016 across the country, 18,100 stores were closed in these centers during that period. The number of stores operating in malls throughout Brazil in 2016 totaled 121,638, which represented a decrease of 12.9 percent compared to 2015, when there were 139,738.

With less stores opened, there was also a reduction in the number of jobs in the shopping mall sector throughout the year. The usual surge in temporary jobs for the end-of-year period also did not occur.

According to the association, in 2016 shopping mall stores had 1,253,141 employees in addition to 85,510 employees in the malls operating areas. This represented a reduction of 36,659 employees compared to data from 2015.

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