Luxury car buyers and bookworms drive sales
A SIGNIFICANT rise in executive car sales helped drive retail growth last month, in a further sign of improved consumer confidence.
Overall, retail sales rose by 8.2pc last month and represented an 8.6pc increase in comparison to the same period last year, according to figures released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday.
The increase in retail sales in July is the second largest monthly rise of the year. The motor industry was largely responsible for the spike in July, as there was a 36pc monthly rise within .
Businessman and car dealer Bill Cullen said that he now believes the "industry is on the mend" and that "confidence is what is making it all happen".
"The car market is up 36pc, it really is a great boom for the industry," the boss of Bill Cullen Premier Motors said.
"There is no doubt the industry is on the mend. Lots of people are driving cars that are between six and nine years old. They are going to have to trade them, they are going to have to move on."
The 72-year-old said that he has noticed companies have now returned to purchasing fleets of vehicles for executives, and that entrepreneurs and farmers are splashing out, with practical 4x4s proving to be popular.
Books, newspapers and stationery also experienced a rise in sales and were up by 4.3pc, while the sale of electrical goods increased by 1.5pc.
A decrease of 10.7pc was recorded in the sales of furniture and lighting items, while fuel sales were also down by 8.8pc.
If cars were excluded, the overall retail sales figures would have reflected a decrease of -0.7pc in the monthly volume, but still represented a 3.1pc increase on the year before.
Retail Ireland, the Ibec group which represents the retail sector, said that the 'big ticket' items like cars and electrical goods were the main "drivers" behind the positive CSO figures.
It has forecast an overall annual increase in consumer spending of 1.9pc this year, and predict that this will grow to 2.9pc next year.
However, it warned that this "cannot be taken for granted", and called upon the Government to implement measures such as "income tax cuts, freezes in excise duties".
Retail Ireland added that action to fill vacant retail units in town centres "would help secure a more sustainable recovery in retail sales and will benefit the entire economy".