Consumer spending down on last month
CONSUMERS continued to cut spending last month, new statistics have shown, putting retailers under more pressure to hang on to business.
Figures from the CSO show retail sales fell by 0.5pc in July compared to a month earlier.
The Retail Sales Index stood at 93.2 in July, down from 92.7 in June. The higher the number, the more people are spending. As recently as 2008, it stood at 110.8.
The end of the car-scrappage scheme in June was a key reason for the fall in sales. When car purchases are stripped out, the index actually rose by 0.5pc. Since July last year, overall sales have fallen 0.6pc. The value of sales fell 0.4pc on the month.
The motor trade and "non-specialised stores" were the only sectors to post higher sales figures in July 2011 compared to 2010, while "books, newspapers and stationery" and "other retail sales" were the biggest fallers year-on-year, the CSO said.
Economists were generally satisfied with the figures, given that much of the decline was due to an 8.4pc fall in car sales compared to June. "Motor trades had increased sharply in May and June as households brought forward spending to take advantage of the car- scrappage scheme before it expired," said Davy Stockbrokers' chief economist Conall MacCoille
Small business group ISME said the figures showed that the Government needed to do more for the retail industry.