SAO PAULO – Retailers in Brazil’s largest city of Sao Paulo released some 50,000 balloons on Friday to welcome what they hope will be a better 2018.
The tradition of the New Year’s balloon launch was established 25 years ago by the Sao Paulo Merchants Association (ACSP).
The city’s shopkeepers saw a minor improvement in trade this year as Latin America’s economic giant emerged from two years of recession to post three consecutive quarters of positive results.
Retail sales plunged 6.2 percent last year – the worst decline since 2001 – before rebounding to grow 1.4 percent over the first 10 months of 2017.
October was the seventh consecutive month of gains in the retail sector.
“We stopped falling in the first six months (of the year),” ACSP head Marcel Solimeo told EFE. “We will end the year with growth that is still low, due to the losses of the first six months, but the direction is one of accelerated growth in the coming year.”
Christmas sales were good, though not good enough to offset the poor figures from early in 2017, he said.
“We are looking forward with good expectations for 2018,” Solimeo said.