Thursday 23 March 2017

Retail sales declined for third month

Colm Heatley

Irish retail sales declined for a third month in December as rising unemployment curbed spending on everything from alcohol to furniture.

Retail sales, excluding cars, fell 0.9pc in the month and declined 6.7pc from a year earlier, the Central Statistics Office in Cork said today. Including cars, sales fell 7.5pc from a year earlier, the smallest decline in 17 months.

“Despite sale signs in the windows, consumers were still very cautious about their spending as the holidays approached,” said Patrick Koucheravy, an economist at the Irish unit of CB Richard Ellis Group in Dublin.

Car sales fell 15.1pc in December from a year earlier, today’s report showed. Clothing sales slipped 1pc and sales of home-improvement materials dropped 10.4pc. Sales at bars fell 8.4pc.

The economy will resume growth in the second half of this year, the Central Bank has said. With the pace of job losses easing, the outlook for spending is improving. Consumer confidence rose last month to the highest in two years, a report yesterday showed.

Bloomberg

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