Business Irish

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Car sales disguise weak consumer spending figures reporters

Retail sales figures rose slightly last month but if car sales are stripped out the volume of sales slumped 4.2pc.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office showed a 0.2pc increase compared with the same month last year.

But the figures were boosted by car sales as people availed of the last month of the Government car scrappage scheme.

Car sales were up 22pc on the year and the only other sectors to show increases were electrical good and furniture and lighting.

Big drops were recorded by eight categories including big ticket items like fuel.

The value of retail sales was up by 0.4pc in June 2011 when compared with June 2010.

But car sales also boosted this figure.

Retail Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the retail sector, said that CSO retail sales figures released today highlight the depth of the crisis facing the sector.

Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan said: "It is of particular concern that the 3pc year on year fall in core retail sales (excluding cars and bars) in the second quarter of the year was greater than the fall in the first quarter. Year on year core retail sales have declined continuously since early 2008.

"The difficulties experienced by Superquinn, an iconic name in the retail sector, demonstrate the depth of the crisis. It is critical that Government take action to protect the 240,000 jobs in the sector. Government should give consumers certainty by communicating to the public what lies ahead in the next budget, address excessive labour costs in the sector, reduce local authority rates and accelerate legislation to abolish upward-only rent reviews in existing leases."

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