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Brazil Retail Sales Rose for 7th Month in November, Boosted by Black Friday Sales

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01/15/2020 | 07:32am EST

By Jeffrey T. Lewis

SAO PAULO--Brazil's retail sales rose in November from the previous month, boosted by Black Friday sales at the end of the month.

Sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in the month, the seventh consecutive increase, and advanced 2.9% from November 2018, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE said Wednesday. Retail sales grew 0.1% in October from September.

Brazilians have enthusiastically adopted the U.S. Black Friday tradition of pre-Christmas sales at the end of November even though they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. With the economy slowly improving and unemployment gradually declining, shoppers have more money in their pockets than they did a year ago.

Record-low interest rates are also boosting sales at stores as consumers take advantage of the cheaper cost of borrowing to buy bigger-ticket items, according to Mauricio Nakahodo, an economist at the MUFG financial group in Sao Paulo.

"Lower rates make borrowing more accessible to shoppers, so that lets more people go out and buy more," he said.

Economists expect Brazil's economy to grow more quickly this year than in 2019, and foresee a continuing decline in the unemployment rate, which should help boost retail sales in coming months. The Brazilian government began toward the end of last year permitting workers to make early withdrawals from obligatory retirement accounts, and that should also help boost sales, Mr. Nakahodo said.

Sales increased in four of the eight categories measured, the IBGE said. Sales of health and beauty aids increased 4.1% in November, furniture and appliances sales rose 0.5% and sales of other personal and household items gained 1%, boosted at least in part by Black Friday sales, according to the agency.

Write to Jeffrey T. Lewis at jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com

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