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Monthly Survey of Trade

Retail trade sales increase for the second consecutive month and hit highest result in the time series

Section: Economic Statistics | Vinícius Britto

April 11, 2024 09h00 AM | Last Updated: April 16, 2024 02h26 AM

Pharmaceuticals, medical, orthopedic articles and toiletries recorded the main rise of retail in February - Photo: Helena Pontes/IBGE News Agency

From January to February, retail trade sales in the country increased by 1.0% and reached the highest level in the time series that started in January 2000. That is the second consectutive increase, after the index increased by 2.8% in January. The last time retail trade recorded increases for two months in a row was September 2022 (0.5% in August and 0.7% in September). The data are from the Monthly Survey of Trade (PMC), released today (11) by the IBGE.

"One of the highlights of this period is that we have observed two consecutive months of growth, which had not happened since mid-2022. However, at that time the combined growth of the two months was lower, less intense. Another aspect to note is that in the last two years, either January or February was stronger, but then declined. In 2024, there was a rise in both January and February," says research manager Cristiano Santos.

Six of the eight activities investigated in the survey advanced in February this year. Among them, the highlights were Pharmaceuticals, medical and orthopedic articles, and toiletries (9.9%) and Other personal and household articles (4.8%), which exerted the main influences on the total result of retail trade.

"Looking at this sector from the point of view of its sub-sectors, we noticed that the increase came from pharmaceutical products. There was an inflationary factor that must be taken into account, which resulted in price growth, but even a greater growth in revenue volume. This result of 9.9% is quite significant and will only resemble January 2022, when the sector grew by 9.4%," Cristiano recalls about the pharmaceutical sector.

Other Personal and Household articles recorded an increase of 4.8% from January to February and 9.6% year-on-year. The IBGE researcher assessed the result in light of the sector's recent results. "It's a very significant result, as it's the second consecutive month of growth, which also puts the first two months in the positive field for a sector that had been struggling. Throughout 2023, only in August and November the result was not negative. It was a sector that suffered due to an accounting crisis in some large companies that are in this activity, greatly influenced by department stores, which had physical stores closed", he points out.

On the other hand, between January and February, there were negative rates in two of the eight groups of retail activities: Fuels and lubricants (-2.7%) and Hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco (-0.2%).

“For the fuels and lubricants sector, we have the second month with a negative bias, with the January data being closer to stability. The effective drop in February is strongly linked to a slightly higher base because there was a recovery in the sector at the end of 2023, mainly with an increase in the volume of revenue in November and December", explains the researcher.

The -0.2% variation in Hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco is evaluated as a lateral movement of stability. The research manager explained that it was a result that followed the same type of intensity as in recent months, with the exception of January, when there was growth of 0.8%, being a sector that has changed very little over the last 6 months.

Cristiano added that an opposite movement can be observed compared to what happened until October last year when the sector was highly relevant in both declines and growth. The activity is leaving this relevance to other ones that are beginning to experience high volatility, such as Other personal and household articles.

"There has been a change in the focus of consumption in recent months, from a scenario of a tighter budget, concentrated on basic products, to a moment when there is more room for consumption of other types of products. This scenario is related to the increase in credit, due to the reduction in the basic interest rate, as well as growth in the usual real wage bill and the employed population", he points out.

Five activities advanced compared to January last year

In February, retail sales rose 8.2% compared to the same period last year. This growth was spread across five of the eight restricted retail sectors: Pharmaceuticals, medical and orthopedic articles and toiletries (18.5%), Office, computer and communication material and equipment (10.5%), Hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco (9.6%), Other personal and household articles (9.6%) and Furniture and household appliances (3.7%).

Books, newspapers, magazines and stationery (-6.0%), Fabric, apparel and footwear (-0.5%) and Fuels and lubricants (-0.2%) were the only ones to register negative rates in this comparison. In the extended retail sector, the three additional activities recorded increases: Vehicles and motorcycles, parts and pieces (16.6%), Construction materials (5.0%) and Specialized whole in food products, beverages and tobacco (10.1%).

"This growth of 8.2% was observed in 2021, which, in the interannual indicator, was compared to a very low base in 2020. When the pandemic began to recede, in this year-on-year comparison, we noticed a great increase due to the large declines observed in the first year of the health crisis. A very interesting fact in this indicator is that all the Federative Units saw growth in retail trade in February, something that had last happened in April 2021, precisely in comparison with the worst moment of the pandemic in 2020", says the research manager.

More about the survey

PMC produces indicators to monitor the short-term behavior of retail trade in Brazil, investigating the gross revenue of formal enterprises with 20 or more employed persons and whose major activity is retail trade.

Having started in 1995, the PMC presents monthly results of changes in sales volume and nominal revenue for retail trade and extended retail trade (cars and construction material) for Brazil and Federation Units. The results are available at Sidra. The next release of PMC, with results for February 2024, will be released on May 8.

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