2-Black Friday gives one-off boost to retail sales in Brazil

ReutersBRASILIA, Jan 10

Retail sales in Brazil rose more than forecast in November as early holiday discounts boosted demand for electronics and home appliances, offering temporary relief amid expectations of a weaker December. Retail sales volumes excluding cars and building materials rose 2.0 percent in November from October after falling for four consecutive months, figures from government statistics agency IBGE showed on Tuesday.

The increase, the sharpest since July 2013, far exceeded the rise of 0.4 percent that economists in a Reuters poll expected. The November surprise reinforces the growing popularity of Black Friday discounts in Brazil. Sales rose 2.1 percent from October for home appliances and furniture, and increased 4.3 percent for computers and office supplies. “The performance of these segments in November suggests some early shopping for Christmas, a trend that has strengthened every year,” IBGE said in a statement.

In 2014 and 2015, November sales also surpassed market expectations by a wide margin, only to plunge in December. “The November picture is clouded by the Black Friday effect,” economists with São Paulo-based consultancy MCM wrote in a note. “The likely anticipation of Christmas shopping should mean that sales have dropped in December.” Black Friday took place on Nov. 25 even as Brazilians do not traditionally celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday that precedes it in the United States.

The MCM economists said they saw no signs that the retail sector would stabilize in the near term. Brazil has been stuck in a recession since late 2014, with more than 12 million unemployed. Sales fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier, less sharply than the Reuters poll respondents’ expectations of a 5.45 percent drop.

Yields on interest rate futures rose slightly as traders reduced bets on an aggressive rate cut by the central bank on Wednesday. A broader retail measure that includes sales of automobiles and building materials rose 0.6 percent from October with seasonal adjustments.