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By Jamie McGeever
BRAZILIA, April 7 (Reuters) – Retail sales in Brazil surged in February, recording their biggest increase for the month in six years, with consumers’ desire to shop unaffected by the looming corona virus crisis, official figures showed on Tuesday.
Sales volume excluding cars and building materials jumped 1.2% in February from January, the IBGE government statistics agency said, far stronger than the median forecast in a Reuters poll of a 0.3% decline.
Sales jumped 4.7% from the previous year’s period, IBGE said, more than double the 2.1% increase expected in a Reuters poll.
“I don’t think it (coronavirus) has any impact, for example, if you see an increase in supermarket revenues,” IBGE researcher Cristiano Santos said. “Coronavirus should only begin to be felt in March,” he said.
The January-to-January figure was revised down to 1.4%, down from a 1.0% decline, IBGE said, but Brazilian consumers bounced back in February.
Five of the eight categories surveyed showed an increase in sales in February, with furniture and white goods such as refrigerators up 1.6%, and supermarket, food, beverage and tobacco sales up 1.5%, IBGE said.
Retail sales in the first two months of this year rose 3.0% in the same period in 2019, while the accumulated sales in the 12 months to February were 1.9% higher than the previous year’s period, IBGE said. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)
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