SAO PAULO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian retail sales rose by the smallest amount in 11 years in 2014 as buyers grappled with higher credit costs and high inflation, credit research firm Serasa Experian said on Wednesday.
Serasa’s Commerce Activity Indicator, its sample-based gauge of retail sales, rose 3.7 percent in 2014 from the previous year, its slowest pace since 2003. Growth was concentrated in food and apparel retailers, while durable goods such as automobiles and domestic appliances edged up only slightly, Serasa said.
Consumer confidence in Brazil is currently at its lowest since the 2008 global financial crisis, with many Brazilians focused on paying off debts accumulated over the past few years.
Higher interest rates and a worsening outlook for Brazil’s economy have also kept many buyers on the sidelines in recent months.
In the Christmas shopping week of Dec. 18-24, retail sales dropped 1.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, Serasa said last month.
Serasa’s retail figures precede those from national statistics agency IBGE. In its last report, issued on Dec. 12, the IBGE said retail sales volumes in October rose 1.8 percent from a year earlier. (Reporting by Asher Levine Editing by W Simon)