WEDNESDAY, MAR. 21: Retail Sales fell for the 45th straight month in January.

The Department of Statistics reported on Wednesday that retail sales were down 2.3 per cent and once adjusted for inflation, the volume was down 4.9 per cent.

Overseas purchases declared by residents was down 11.8 per cent, the third straight month of a double digit decline since Government instituted a 35 per cent duty at the LF Wade International Airport.

There were 25 shopping days this January, which was one more than January 2011.

Four of the seven sectors of the Retail Sales Index, including the Building Material Stores, showed an increase in sales.

But even that is a bit of a mirage as the Service Station sector was up 0.8 per cent owing to the price of gasoline rising 5.9 per cent, or otherwise it would have had a decrease.

And Food and Liquor Store sectors were up 1.7 and 4.5 per cent respectively, but retailers attribute that to having an extra shopping day rather than increased demand.

The one sector to make positive inroads was the Building Material Stores, which was up 10.7 per cent.

This was the fifth consecutive month of higher sales for this sector. The stronger level of sales was driven by continued demand for building supplies from ongoing commercial construction projects combined with promotional sales.

Motor vehicle sales fell 29.3 per cent as there were 38 fewer cars sold in January 2012 compared to January 2011. In contrast, there were 24 more motorcycles sold.

Sales in apparel stores fell 2.4 per cent.