sales of Brazilian physical retail grew 10.1% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, according to the Trade Activity Indicator (IAC) by Serasa Experian. It was the biggest half-yearly expansion of the indicator since 2010. In the first six months of last year, the index registered a drop of 15.7% compared to the same period in 2019.
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“It is necessary to take into account that the observed increase is a partial recovery, as it does not compensate for the expressive fall related to the pandemic in 2020”, evaluates Luiz Rabi, economist at Serasa Experian, in a note. “The numbers accumulated from January to June 2021 could be better, but the second wave of covid-19 and the operating restrictions imposed on retail impacted the recovery.”
The furniture, household appliances, electronics and information technology sector was the highlight of the first half of the year, with growth of 13.6%, after retraction of 18.6% in the same period in 2020. Supermarkets, hypermarkets, foods and beverages (10.7%, down from -9.2%), motorcycle vehicles and parts (12.1%, from -20.7%) and construction material (121%, down from -14.8%).
At the other end, Serasa Experian calculates a drop in sales in two retail sectors. Fabrics, apparel, footwear and accessories contracted 6.5% in the first half of the year, after dropping 19.9% in the same period in 2020. Fuels and lubricants also registered a 3.5% retraction, after falling 10.1 % in the first half of last year.
The IAC advanced 1.1% at the margin in June, a deceleration in relation to the high of 3.6% found in May. In the monthly reading, the index registered a reduction in the rates of supermarkets, hypermarkets, food and beverages (1.7% to -2.0%), construction material (2.4% to -0.4% and vehicles, motorcycles and parts (2.8% to 2.6%).
Three other retail sectors had sales acceleration in the period: furniture, household appliances, electronics and information technology (0.8% to 2.3%), fuels and lubricants (-6 8% to 2.7%) and fabrics, clothing, footwear and accessories (3.2% to 30.9%).
“With the high level of unemployment and the decrease in emergency aid, people are still following the consumption model by necessity, which affects retail sales. The significant increase in the Textiles, Clothing, Footwear and Accessories sector may be linked to to the cold period that started in June, which reinforced the demand for these items”, evaluates Rabi.