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LatinNews Daily - 08 April 2020

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In brief: Brazil’s retail sales on the increase before pandemic

* Brazil’s national statistics institute (Ibge) has released the latest figures for the retail sector, which show that sales grew by 1.2% in February after a negative performance in January. Year-on-year, February sales in the retail sector increased by 4.7%. In the first two months of 2020, retail sales increased by 3% compared with the same period in 2019, a positive performance which Ibge analyst, Cristiano Santos, attributes to Brazil’s trajectory of economic recovery, along with the expansion of credit and the fall in interest rates. The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which Santos said had little to no impact on retail in February, will reverse this trend in coming months. The Confederação Nacional do Comércio de Bens, Turismo e Serviços (CNC) estimates that the pandemic has already caused losses of R$53.3bn (US$10.21bn) in retail in the ten states of Brazil which account for almost 75% of retail sales nationally. The CNC has estimated that social isolation measures led to a 35% drop in consumer flow on the high street, and a 50% drop in shopping centres during the month of March.