Retail activity slowing down in Lebanon
Retail activity in Lebanon fell 8.5 percent in the third quarter amid economic slowdown, the Beirut Traders Association – Fransabank Retail Index issued Monday showed.
“Trade activity has seen a significant decline in the third quarter of 2012. The real figure shows a significant decline of around 8.5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2011, after taking into consideration the official consumer price index of 10.3 percent,” a Fransabank statement said.
The report shows consumer expenditures have fallen across the board with clothing, education supplies and beverages falling 20, 18 and 17 percent, respectively. Sales of shoes, foodstuff, tobacco and cosmetics fell 16.5, 6.6 and 5.8 percent, respectively.
Compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, the base quarter for the index, third quarter activity declined to a value of 99.97, compared to 100.
“This confirms that trade activity has not only seen no growth [since the fourth quarter of 2011] but is already displaying signs of decline as we have warned before,” said Nicolas Chammas, head of the Beirut Traders Association.
Durable goods also faced an acute decline with furniture dropping a whopping 35 percent, and electronics and home appliances falling 19 percent.
“The only [trade] sector which registered improvement during the third quarter is the fuels sector, which saw sales increasing 7.11 percent,” the report said. “This can be attributed to the decline in fuel prices during the time, which displays the high price elasticity of fuels in Lebanon.”