DUBLIN: The volume of retail sales in Ireland increased by 2.1 per cent in the 12 months to the end of July. Compared to June volumes increased by 11.9 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis. According to data from the Central Statistics Office, the numbers were heavily boosted by transactions in the motor trade. When the 7 per cent increase in volumes of motor sales are removed, retail sales actually dropped by 0.2 per cent in July compared to June. While the figures look positive for the motoring industry, volumes are actually down 6.4 per cent in the past 12 months. Compared to June 2017, volumes in the clothing, footwear and textile business increased by 3.2 per cent.
Retail sales in bars increased by 2.6 per cent on the month. This comes after a report from property firm Savills Ireland said that bars are the only retailers experiencing both sales growth and rising prices. The study of the Republic’s retail sector suggests while other non-bar retailers are experiencing sales growth, it is coming at the expense of discounted prices. Today’s data from the CSO shows that retail sales in bars were up 1.5 per cent in the last 12 months. The value of retail sales in bars increased by 3.8 per cent on the year. Sectors that witnessed significant month-on-month decreases in volumes included non-specialised stores, the books and newspaper sector, and the furniture and lighting business, which saw sales decrease by 2.2 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 1 per cent respectively. “As sterling continues to depreciate, the retail sector is particularly vulnerable to price squeeze, with consumers looking to online UK retailers for goods. This is a cause for real concern,” said Neil McDonnell, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association. Alan McQuaid, economist at Merrion Capital, said: “Personal spending growth is expected to be positive again in 2017, boosted by the continued fall in unemployment, but with the increase in headline sales likely to be lower than last year. However, excluding motor trades, a higher retail sales rise than 2016 is anticipated.”