ONLINE sales plunged as a share of retail spend last month as more shops were open longer.
The volume of total retail sales was 9.7pc higher in September compared to 12 months ago, suggesting that there may still have been some pent-up demand in the economy.
Online sales fell from the high of 15.3pc recorded in April to 4.3pc in September, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Duncan Graham, CEO of Retail Excellence, said the figures show customers were keen to get back into shops.
With the country now back in Level 5 and all non-essential retail closed, people may return to shopping online in large numbers.
“We are facing the most difficult six weeks for retailers,” Mr Graham told the Irish Independent.
“This is devastating. The implications of not opening at the end of November are unthinkable,” he added.
The lobby group is currently discussing appointment-only shopping with the Government as a possibility “at the back-end of lockdown”.
“We need to plan reopening very carefully, there will be a frenzy of activity, we will need to smooth out re-opening,” Mr Graham said.
When motor trades are excluded, the volume of retail sales increased by 1pc in September over the previous month and increased by 7.4pc when compared with September 2019.
The largest monthly volume increases were in car sales, hardware, paints and glass, clothing, footwear and textiles.
However, the monthly volume of sales in bars fell 16pc, which may have been hit by the placing of Level 3 restrictions on Dublin in the middle of September. Compared with September 2019, the volume of bar sales is 49pc lower.
The figures from the CSO come as data from the banks show contactless payments hit a record high in the three months to September 30 with more than 182 million payments valued at almost €2.9bn.
The number of contactless payments rose by over a third year-on-year, according to figures published today by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).