BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s retail sales fell 6.6 percent in April, compared to the same month in 2015, with consumer spending remaining “paralyzed,” the Argentine Association of Mid-Sized Enterprises, or CAME, said in a report.
Retail sales fell 4.8 percent in the January-April period, compared to the first four months of 2015, the CAME said.
All sectors of the retailing industry posted lower sales, with the biggest drops registered in household appliances and electronics, down 12.3 percent; hardware, down 9.4 percent; construction materials, down 8.7 percent; and snacks, down 8.6 percent.
“Merchants could do nothing about shoppers who disappeared from outside store windows,” the trade association said, adding that the drop in purchasing power was felt “more strongly than ever” in April, when the usual seasonal price increases were accompanied by higher taxes and a surge in the cost of materials.
The “numerous layoffs” in the public and private sectors “impacted both spending ability and families’ desire to consume,” the CAME said.
The rainy season and arrival of cold weather in Argentina, however, spurred spending on clothing, shows and some household appliances, “but with no chance of offsetting the drop, since the trend was very pronounced,” the trade association said.
Businesses surveyed for the report said it was unlikely that sales would rebound because “the increases in costs amid a recessionary background are becoming increasingly more difficult to sustain,” the CAME said.
A total of 1,265 small- and mid-sized businesses were surveyed for the report.