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By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The retail sales in Rio de Janeiro fell 6.1 percent in March this year, compared to March 2015, according to the Sales Thermometer released yesterday (April 26th) by Centro de Estudos do Clube de Diretores Lojistas, or Shopkeepers Directors Club Study Centre – CDLRio. It is the worst result since March 2006 when the drop reached 10.6 percent.

Retail sales in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
Retail sales in Rio de Janeiro saw the worst result since 2006, photo Arquivo/Agência Brasil.

With the result of March, retail sales of Rio closed the first three months of the year (January to March) with cumulative decline of nine percent from the same period last year, also the worst result for the combined months since 2006.

The poll of about five hundred retail outlets, and according to president of CDLRio, Aldo Gonçalves, the results reflect the economic crisis that has affected the state and country.

“The performance was weak, even considering the fact that March is not usually a month’s big sales. It comes after the holidays and Carnival, when people invest a lot on good-times,” he said.

Gonçalves evaluated further that the rise in interest rates, unemployment and a high level of inflation can be considered as the main factors for the negative results of the first quarter and the month of March.

The fall of 6.1 percent in March, compared to March 2015, reflecting negative results in all sectors of the soft goods and durables: clothing fell 4.1 percent; tissues (-7.7 percent); footwear (-7.3 percent); optics (-12.3 percent); furniture (-7.9 percent); jewelry (-6.9 percent); and appliances (-6.5 percent).

Wilson Hsu, an American expatriate from Los Angeles whose family runs a florist shop in SAARA (Centro), the Festamania Presentes Ltda, told The Rio Times, “The first quarter of the year has been less then stellar. Mother’s Day [on May 8th] is closing approaching and sales so far have not come close to what it used to be in past years.”

Hsu adds, “Our big customers still buy because they need to, but as for a normal everyday customer their kinda keeping their wallets in the pocket.”

Another finding of the survey of the Shopkeepers of Rio Directors Club is that, despite having fallen 7.4 percent compared to March 2015, cash sales were preferred by consumers.

In 2015 the retail sector in Brazil registered the worst decline in sales since the historic data series started, in 2001. According to Brazil’s IBGE (Statistics Bureau), retail sales fell by 4.3 percent in 2015.

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