Tuesday 20 March 2018

A little respite for retailers as sales edge up

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

RETAILERS saw a 0.5pc increase in retail sales last month.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show a 0.5pc increase in both the volume and value of sales in September.

And the volume of sales has risen 1pc in the last year, although pricecutting means the value of them has fallen by 0.5pc over 12 months.

Consumers spent more on day-to-day items such as fuel, food and drink in September, but less on big-ticket items like furniture and electrical goods, the Retail Sales Index shows.

For example spending on food, beverages and tobacco was up 4.5pc in the last year, but on electrical goods it fell by 5.1pc.

The volume of furniture sales slumped by 6.7pc in September though it's still grown by 4.1pc over the year.

Car sales continue to perform more strongly than last year - presumably helped by the new 132 registration plates incentivising purchases in the second half of the year.

Sales of cars rose slightly in September and are up 9.4pc in the last year.

Ibec's Retail Ireland said that the figures showed continuing difficulties in the retail sector as when cars and bars were excluded, the amount of money spent in the shops was down 1.7pc compared with last September.

Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam there'd been a fall in sales for supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, furniture stores, petrol stations and electrical outlets.

However, book shops, clothing stores, specialist food stores and hardware shops saw increases.

"Undoubtedly, speculation about the impact of the Budget led to people spending less in September. We hope that with the Budget now out of the way, and most pay packets left relatively unchanged, growth in consumer spending will resume," he said.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association said the figures highlighted the disastrous situation for many small and midsized retailers, with large multinationals the only ones with the resources to survive.

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