Lebanon Businessnews News

Retail sales up
following a 30-month drop
Retail Activity Index details sub sector trends
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Retail trade has been in a recession over the last ten quarters, according to the ‘Retail Sales Activity Indicator in Lebanon’ study. It was launched today by the Lebanese Franchise Association (LFA) and the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount-Lebanon, (CCIA-BML). Retail sales have turned around and increased by 2.2 percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period of 2014. The study obtained the information from shopping malls and payment card operators, as well as a survey of retail enterprises.

Retail sales indicators of the six categories of consumer goods are currently, on average, 22.6 percent lower than the 2012 level, the base year used by the study. Indicators of most goods and services have fluctuated over the last 30 months and remained lower than their level in 2012, the study said.

“Figures of the study have shown the difficult situation faced by retail institutions in the last two and a half years,” said Charles Arbid, Chairman of LFA.

The indicator study based on a 30-month period (January 2013 till June 2015), analyzed the 2012 base year and the following two and a half years.

“The indicator monitored the developments on the level of consumption and identified the changes in the pattern of life of the consumers and their purchasing power changes,” said Mohammed Choucair, Chairman of the CCIA-BML.

Household goods and clothing were the two categories of consumer goods that registered a negative annual change in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014. Their sales indicators decreased by 14.6 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively. The indicators for the food and beverages category increased the most, by 18.8 percent, followed by the sales indicator of sports and hobby items (plus 14.1 percent). Cosmetics and luxury items were up by nearly five and four percent, respectively.

The indicator for retail of services increased by 11.4 percent in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014. Two components of that indicator account for the increase: the tourism, which saw its sales indicator increase by 28.8 percent and hospitality, which rose by 20 percent. On average and over the 30-month period under review, the sales indicator for consumer services was 12.3 percent higher than the 2012 base year.

Over the 30 months examined, the trend was negatively sloped for the sales indicator of the clothing and household goods categories and nearly flat for the luxury and sports and hobby items. As for the food and beverages and the cosmetics, the trend was positive. For all six categories, the trend was almost flat.

In consumer services, the trend for the hospitality and educational categories was negative over the 30-month period and positive for tourism.

The retail activity indicator is expected to be issued every six months. “The next issue of the report will cover more surveyed institutions and more categories of goods and services,” said Arbid.
Reported by Walid Merhi
Date Posted: Oct 01, 2015
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