February retail sales slumped due to tepid supermarket sales, underscoring the difficulty of recovery in the face of high levels of unemployment.
Sales fell by 0.2% in February compared to the previous month, reported the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), undershooting market expectations of a 0.3% increase. In comparison with the previous year, the decline was 3.2% – the 23rd consecutive fall.
The IBGE also revised data from January over the previous month in which sales increased by 5.5% after an original fall of 0.7%, as it updated sector weights and started to use 2014 for the basis of the survey, instead of 2011 used previously.
According to the IBGE, hypermarkets, supermarkets, food products, beverages and tobacco sector, which has a significant weight in household consumption, fell 0.5% in February compared to January, after it had climbed 8.1% in the monthly comparison. On the other side, sales of furniture and appliances gained 3.8% in the month.