Books and stationery lead retail sales volume drop

Turnover in retail commerce posted comparatively less of an annual decline in August, according to data released yesterday by the National Statistical Service (NSS). The index for August 2009 showed a 4.5 percent decline compared to August 2008, while the average rate of drop in the first eight months of the year stood at 12.8 percent year-on-year. The biggest decline was recorded in bookstore and stationery turnover (down 27.4 percent on an annual basis), followed by department stores (13.1 percent), furniture, electrical and household goods stores (8.9 percent), while supermarket trade volume also headed southward (2.7 percent). Nevertheless, there was a significant rise in turnover by apparel stores (up 17.6 percent), which was attributed to a better sales period last August than the year before. Fuel sales also fell, but by a marginal 0.6 percent.