Brazilian malls, supermarkets forecast slowdown after weak 2014

martes 27 de enero de 2015 13:12 GYT

SAO PAULO Jan 27 (Reuters) - Brazilian mall and supermarket associations on Tuesday forecast slowing sales growth after a weak 2014, with revenues scarcely keeping up with inflation and store openings as consumer sentiment sours.

The meager 2015 forecasts reinforce a grim outlook for Brazilian retailers, as higher taxes, rising interest rates and stagnant job growth pinch families' budgets, contributing to some economists' forecasts of a recession in 2015.

Consumer confidence in Brazil plunged in January to the lowest level in at least a decade, according to a Monday report by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), which began collecting its data series in September 2005.

Supermarket group Abras estimated on Tuesday that sales would rise 2 percent more than inflation in 2015, which would be the weakest advance since 2006.

Sales grew 2.2 percent more than inflation last year, below the 2.5 percent growth Abras had projected in September and its estimate of 3 percent at the start of the year.

Abrasce, a national association of shopping malls, projected nominal sales growth at Brazilian malls of 8.5 percent in 2015, barely ahead of the average 7 percent inflation forecast in a central bank poll of analysts.

That sales forecast, announced on Tuesday by Abrasce, includes 26 new shopping centers projected to open this year, reflecting 5 percent growth from the end of last year.

Sales at Brazilian malls grew 10.1 percent in 2014, a year in which consumer prices rose 6.4 percent and the number of malls grew 4.8 percent, according to Abrasce. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Writing and additional reporting by Brad Haynes)