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Mexico's big-box department store and convenience story association (ANTAD) reported 5% year-on-year growth in same-store retail sales in August, as well as an 8.8% increase in sales for all affiliated stores, including new-store sales.
Both are the highest sales growth figures since August 2015; however, they do not appear to be fully reflecting the massive resurgance in consumer confidence seen after the July 1 presidential election.
The confidence monitor, produced by statistics agency Inegi, puts the historical level set in January 2003 as a standard 100 points. It jumped to 102.0 from 89.1 in July, crossing into 100-territory for the first time since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, falling only slightly in August to 101.8.
Nevertheless, retail sales have yet to fully benefit from the confidence boost associated with the victory of president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and the belief that the incoming government can rekindle growth in the Mexican economy.
AMLO takes office on December 1.
Beyond confidence, other factors playing into the increased sales, according to analysts consulted by local daily El Financiero, include aggressive promotional strategy of the commercial chains, wage increases above inflation, and the double-digit increase shown by remittances in pesos.
"In general, we see a quieter consumer after the elections in Mexico, especially in segments of the population of the middle and upper middle class, which has benefited sales in store formats such as Chedraui Selecto and City Market," said Carlos Hermosillo, director of analysis at trading house Actinver, as reported in El Financiero.
By type of store, the Antad report showed major department stores - such as Liverpool, Sears, Fabricas de Francias, Suburbia and Palacio de Hierro - leading the sector for the fourth consecutive month, showing an advance of 9% y-o-y in same store sales in August.
"The department stores were the type of shop that had slowed the most, now these are beginning to show signs of stabilizing, and for the next months they will face a beneficial comparison base that will reflect good growth," said Luis Willard, an analyst at broker Grupo Bursatil Mexicano (GBM).
In addition, convenience and specialty stores (including Oxxo, Extra, Office Depot and Devlyn) showed an increase in sales of 4.2% y-o-y and supermarkets (Chedraui, La Comer, HEB, Calimax and Walmart, among others) recorded a 4% increase.