The Malta Chamber of SMEs have reacted strongly to new Eurostat figures which say that retail sales in Malta in December 2020 were better than the same period in 2019.
The numbers, which contrast with the Chamber’s own survey findings as well as the experience of its members, were reiterated by the Maltese government today.
“At this stage, we question these conclusions by Eurostat, as the sentiment on the ground has never been so negative. COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow to retail sales and business in general, and this is only logical,” the Chamber said today.
“Therefore, we fail to see how Eurostat could have come to this conclusion.”
Quoting Eurostat, the government said retail said rose by 3.3% in December 2020 when compared to December 2019, while the rest of the Eurozone only saw a 0.6% rise in the same period.
“This means that sales seen in Malta were nearly six times more than in other countries,” the government said. It went on to say that after retail sales had dropped in March and April, it took until December to reach pre-COVID-19 levels.
When it comes to sales of alcohol, food and fuel, the government said they had decreased when compared to 2019, which it said can be attributed to the lower number of tourists visiting the island in 2020.
Many of Malta’s industries, including entertainment, tourism and retail, took a major hit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many establishments closing shop as the months drag on with seemingly little improvement.