RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Retail sales in Brazil were up 1.8 percent in 2019 compared with 2018, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) announced on Wednesday.
According to the IBGE, only one out of the nine sectors analyzed by the agency registered decrease in sales volume -- books, newspapers and stationary products, whose sales were down 20.7 percent in 2019.
Though the figures were positive, the rise was not as significant as in 2018 when retail sales were up 2.3 percent compared with 2017, the IBGE said.
In addition, though Brazil has seen three consecutive years of increase in retail sales, the country has yet to recover enough to compensate the fall of over 10 percent in sales between 2014 and 2016, it added.
Retail sales were doing better in the beginning of 2019, said the IBGE, but sales in December had a negative impact on annual figures. In the last month of 2019, retail sales were down 0.1 percent, mostly due to lower-than-expected supermarket sales -- despite the holiday season.
The IBGE attributed the lower sales in December to the lack of improvement in workers' income. Informal work -- which generally gets lower wages than formal jobs -- grew significantly in Brazil in 2019, accounting for 40 percent of the occupied population.