Saturday 17 March 2018

Consumer spending falls for third month

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

Consumer spending ran out of steam for the third month in a row, new figures show, in news which will come as a blow to retailers.

The amount of goods being bought by consumers in July, excluding cars, dropped following similar trends in May and June, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Retail sales have been boosted by the car scrappage scheme since it was introduced at the beginning of the year, but when this sector is excluded the volume of sales fell.

The only sectors to show increases in July were cars, fuel and food businesses.

Overall volumes -- or the amount of goods being purchased-- fell 1pc compared with June.

When car sales are stripped out, the value of goods dropped 0.6pc compared with the previous month, or a 4.9pc fall compared with the same period in 2009.

Economists said that figures were disappointing, especially as they came after drops in May and June.

"After a positive first quarter, the trend in retail sales began to weaken again," said Reetta Suonpera, an economist for business representative group IBEC.

She added that it was clear the fragility of the domestic economy was weighing on consumers and she put the onus on the Government to help restore confidence and stimulate growth.

According to the figures, the biggest drops in sales were experienced by bars, department stores and pharmaceutical and cosmetic firms.

Irish Independent

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