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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian Association of Shopping Mall Store Owners (ALSHOP) announced that the retraction in Christmas sales in 2015 is likely to be the worst in ten years, when compared to sales during the same period in 2014. While the year-over-year decline may seem small, in relation to last year’s three percent growth, the swing is a significant disappointment.

Shopping centers in Brazil registered fewer sales, Brazil, Brazil News
Brazilians purchased fewer Christmas gifts this year, according to the Brazilian Shopping Center Store Owners Association, photo by Lais Castro/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Although sales declined by one percent during the end-of-year period, sales registered throughout the year at shopping centers increased by 1.07 percent in comparison to 2014, totaling more than R$145 billion in sales.

For the association, the growing unemployment and the uncertainties in relation to the results of the economic policies adopted for the coming year led consumers to purchase fewer gifts this holiday season.

“The retail sector is very sensitive to economic activity,” stated ALSHOP president Nabil Sahyoun in a press release. “With tighter credit, higher interest rates, the U.S. dollar at around R$4.00/US$1 and high inflation, we cannot obtain positive results for Christmas sales.”

According to data from the association, Brazilians opted to give less expensive gifts this holiday season. Items such as clothes, perfumes and cosmetics, and jewelry registered increase in sales of 5, 8 and 3 percent, respectively. On the other hand, sales of home appliances fell by two percent while furniture and household goods declined by 13.3 percent.

While sales increased 8.5 percent in shopping malls from 2011 to 2012, there was only a five percent rise in sales in 2013’s holiday season, and three percent in 2014. Nonetheless, the entity is optimistic about the first semester of the coming year.

“For 2016, according to our data, sales in the first semester will be similar to those registered during the first semester of 2015, which may be considered good,” ALSHOP director, Luis Augusto Ildefonso do Silva said.

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