Sales lack sizzle as shoppers stay away
THE summer sales did little to entice shoppers to part with their hard-earned cash this year.
Latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed Irish people are continuing to keep their money in their pockets as retail sales slide.
Business leaders are blaming the downward trend on a continued "lack of consumer confidence".
The CSO figures -- which show the drop in sales in the year ending August 2011 -- reveal electrical goods are still proving a popular choice among consumers, but items such as newspapers, books and stationery are being left on the shelves.
Sales of luxury items such as cosmetics also fared badly over the past 12 months, dipping by 10.4pc, while sales of furniture and lighting also fell by almost 10pc.
Shoppers are clearly reining in their desire for retail therapy as sales at department stores slipped by 3.7pc over the past year.
The CSO reported a monthly fall of 0.4pc in August as summer sales failed to grab the imagination.
IBEC's Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan said: "The continuing year-on-year decline in core retail sales is a continuation of a downward trend that has been there since 2008. The crux is the lack of consumer confidence, something that only Government can help restore."
Meanwhile, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association chief executive, Mark Fielding, said the retail sector was in crisis, with the majority of outlets hanging on "by their fingernails".