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Monthly Survey of Trade

Retail sales show stability in March

Section: Economic Statistics | Caio Belandi

May 08, 2024 09h00 AM | Last Updated: May 09, 2024 03h42 PM

Among the eight activities surveyed in PMC, only pharmaceutical, medical, orthopedic articles and perfumery were on the rise - Photo: IBGE Collection

Retail sales in Brazil remained stable from February to March. As it had reached the highest level in the series in the previous month, with the stability, the record level moves from February to March 2024. In the cumulative index of the year, there is an expansion of 5.9%, while in the last 12 months, the increase is 2.5%. The quarterly moving average showed growth of 1.2% in the quarter ended in March. Compared to the same month in 2023, retail growth was 5.7%. The data comes from the Monthly Survey of Trade (PMC), released today (08) by the IBGE.

In the extended retail trade, which includes, in addition to retail, the activities of vehicles, motorcycles, parts and pieces, construction material and wholesale of food products, beverages and tobacco, the volume of sales changed negatively by 0.3% from February to March. In comparison with March 2023, there was a decrease of 1.5%.

Among retail activities, seven of the eight surveyed had negative results. Survey manager Cristiano Santos highlights, however, that there was a predominance of groups that remained stable. “Of the eight retail activities, four had negative rates, but also considered statistically stable. That is, they were between 0% and -0.5%. Counting the extended retail, it was five out of ten” he explains.

The group of Office, IT and communication equipment and supplies had the biggest drop of the month, falling 8.7% compared to February. According to Mr. Santos, the group came from a higher base, mainly achieved in January. In addition to this rebound effect, there is another phenomenon: a new moment of appreciation of the dollar. “It is something very influential in this sector due to imports. Whenever the dollar rises in relation to the real, there is naturally an increase in prices that ends up driving away demand in this group", explains the manager.

The second biggest drop in March came from the Furniture and household appliances sector (-2.4%), which also recorded positive results in recent months, differently from last year's trend, when activities were greatly affected by the crisis in department stores that reduced physical stores of large chains. “As the sector had a less intense Christmas, it ended up focusing on more promotions, which strengthened sales in the months of January and February. With this higher base, in March the survey recorded this reduction”, details Mr. Santos.

The other activities with a drop were Books, newspapers, magazines and stationery (-1.1%) and Fuels and lubricants (-0.6%). With a negative rate, but statistically stable, were the sectors of Fabric, apparel and footwear (-0.4%), Hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco (-0.3%) and Other personal and household articles ( -0.1%).

Only pharmaceutical, medical, orthopedic and perfumery items increased by 1.4% in March. As it was the third most important activity in PMC in the month, the group's growth explains the stability, compensating for the declines in less impactful activities. “Furthermore, it is growth on top of an even stronger increase in February. And with the difference that it is a result more linked to personal hygiene items, such as cosmetics and perfumery, than in health and pharmaceutical products, as happened in February”, says the researcher.

Five activities decline compared to March 2023

In March, retail sales increased 5.7% compared to the same period last year. Five of the eight activities decreased: Books, newspapers, magazines and stationery (-16.2%), Office, IT and communication equipment and material (-12.4%), Fuels and lubricants (-4.9%), Furniture and household appliances (-4.0%) and Fabric, apparel and footwear (-0.9%). The three sectors that showed growth were Other personal and household articles (13.1%), Pharmaceutical, medical, orthopedic and perfumery articles (11.4%) and Hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco (8. 6%).

In this comparison, the sector of Hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco presents the eighth consecutive month of positive results. The activity exerted the main influence on the indicator: 4.6 pp of the total of 5.7%. The group of Pharmaceutical, medical, orthopedic and perfumery articles has recorded growth for 13 consecutive months in this comparison: the last drop was in February 2023 (-0.5%). The increase in March contributed 1.2 pp to the retail total, the second biggest positive influence for the month of March.

Considering the extended retail trade, there was a drop in Construction material (-9.4%) and Specialized wholesale in food products, beverages and tobacco (-23.0%), while the activity of Vehicles and motorcycles, parts and pieces showed an increase 1.8% in this same comparison.

Sales grow in 16 of the 27 FUs compared to February and in 25 FUs compared to March 2023

In the comparison of March 2024 with the month of February 2024, the PMC shows that there were positive results in 16 of the 27 Federation Units (UFs), with a highlight to: Sergipe (3.7%), Bahia (3.1% ) and Rio Grande do Sul (2.1%). Among the 11 UFs with negative rates, the highlight is Mato Grosso (-11.2%), Pará (-2.6%) and Tocantins (-1.4%).

In extended retail trade, there were negative results in 15 of the 27 FUs, when the comparison is between March 2024 and March 2023, the survey points to 25 FUs growing, highlighting the results in Amapá (13.4%), in Bahia ( 11.1%) and in Paraíba (10.0%). The two FUs with retractions were Espírito Santo (-2.8%) and Mato Grosso (-1.6%). For the extended retail trade, there was a negative result in 14 FUs.

More about the survey

PMC produces indicators that allow monitoring the current behavior of retail trade in the country, investigating the gross revenue from resale in formally constituted companies, with 20 or more employed persons, and whose main activity is retail trade. Started in 1995, the PMC brings monthly results of the change in volume and nominal sales revenue for retail trade and extended retail trade (cars and construction materials) for Brazil and Federation Units. The results can be consulted on Sidra. The next release of the PMC, with the results for April 2024, will be on June 13th.

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