Retail sales in February 2022 reached $2,670 millions , with a 2.5% over the year increase when compared to February 2021. When compared to February 2019 there is only a -1% difference, which shows that Puerto Rico’s retail sales are essentially back at the pre-pandemic level, despite the Omicron outbreak in early 2022. February 2022 registered the second highest amount of sales for the month in the last 6 years.
The accumulated retail sales for 2022 during the first two months of the year are $5,337.9 millions, with a 3.2% change when compared to 2021.
The category with the most over the year increase was patio and gardening equipment with a 32.2% increase from last year. Also, grocery and liquor stores have seen a 13.8% change when compared to their sales in February 2021.
Fuel distributors had an over the year change of 29.7%, which reflects on the high prices of gasoline we are still seeing today in the island and in the U.S. mostly due to inflation. Additionally, because of the sanctions on Russia, gas prices have continued to rise.
The categories with the largest decrease over the year were specialized food stores (-28.0%), shoe stores (-24.8%), and furniture stores (-17.1%).
Overall, the retail sales of February 2022 have reached pre-pandemic levels, which will most likely be a trend in the following months.