Brazil Retail Sales Rose in June as Some Quarantine Measures Relaxed

SAO PAULO--Brazil retail sales rose in June as shoppers returned to stores after governments in many states and towns continued to loosen coronavirus quarantine measures.

Sales increased a seasonally adjusted 8% in the month and rose 0.5% from a year earlier, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE said Wednesday. It was the first year-on-year increase since February. In May, sales climbed a revised 14.4% in the month and fell a revised 6.4% from a year earlier.

The closing of non-essential businesses in much of Brazil in late March slammed retail sales around the country, with sales plummeting 17% in April from the previous month. Sales began to increase again in May, as consumers adjusted to online shopping, and rose again in June after many states and towns began to ease restrictions on non-essential businesses.

Retail sales should continue to increase as long as the number of new infections and the number of deaths from Covid- 19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, remains stable or improves, said Carlos Pedroso, chief economist at Banco MUFG Brasil.

"As long as businesses are allowed to keep reopening in coming weeks, we expect more retail sectors to recover over the next few months, though with smaller increases because they'll be starting from a higher level," he said.

Sales of clothing and shoes soared 53.2% in June from May, as clothing stores reopened in many parts of the country, including Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous city. Sales at supermarkets and hypermarkets rose 0.7% in the period, and sales of fuel increased 5.6%.

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com


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  08-12-20 0837ET
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