Bermuda's 13-month run of falling year-on-year retail sales has been halted, but that good news for government has been offset by a survey showing business leaders' confidence has plummeted for a second successive year.
New figures revealed that the overall volume of retail sales increased by 0.5 per cent in April after being adjusted for inflation, which was 1.6 per cent during the month.
Three of the seven retail sectors recorded increases in sales volume, with liquor store sales up seven per cent, food store sales up 3.7 per cent and all other store types sales up 5.3 per cent.
Four sectors recorded a decline in sales volume, with motor vehicle stores sales dropping by a whopping 17.1 per cent, building material stores sales declining 7.6 per cent, apparel stores sales dropping 3.8 per cent, and the volume of sales at service stations dipping 1.2 per cent.
Overall, the value of retail sales for all sectors in April was US$92 million, up 2.2 per cent year-on-year.
Cabinet Office Minister Wayne Furbert said 'we are encouraged by the 0.5 per cent increase in the April retail sales numbers, but we recognise that we shouldn't be overly exuberant. We hope that retail sales will continue to increase when compared with previous years'.
Meanwhile, the Bermuda Business Confidence Index fell 23.6 points to 62.8, completing a drop of more than 42 points over the past two surveys.
The 198 respondents from a broad range of business sectors appeared to have more confidence in the future of their own enterprises than in the Bermudian economy as a whole.
The index hit its lowest point since the survey began in 2014.
The results of the survey were presented at sponsor HSBC's Harbourview Building in front of a business audience.
Members of government were also present, including Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson and National Security Minister Wayne Caines.
Only 41 per cent of business leaders believed the economy was moving in a positive direction or stable, down 43 points from 2018, while 31 per cent were confident in the island's economic future, down 18 points.
But the falls...