The volume of retail sales in Ireland increased by 0.9% in May compared to April, according to statistics released recently by the CSO. What’s more, the value of retail sales increased by 0.6% over the same period, and retail sales are up 4.1% on the same month of last year.
Department stores saw their sales volume increase by 5.1% in May versus May 2013, although worryingly, the sales volume of food, beverages and tobacco fell by 6.8% over the same period. In terms of sales value change, the figures were 1.9% and -7.1% respectively. Books, newspapers and stationary were also hit hard, seeing their sales volume decline by 9.9% between May 2013 and May 2014.
Other categories, however, did see growth in sales volume over the same timeframe. Among these were furniture and lighting (up 16.2%), clothing, footwear and textiles (9.1%) and electrical goods (10.5%). “This suggests that consumers who shied away from buying certain big ticket items are now starting to purchase them,” said Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam.
“Sales in supermarkets and department stores also rose. “However, there were falls the sales in specialist food stores like bakeries and butchers, in pharmacies, in hardware outlets and in bookstores. These numbers show that many retailers are continuing to struggle.”
In the wake of these findings, Lynam urged the government to prioritise the retail trade in October’s Budget given its significance to Ireland’s continued economic recovery and ease the burden on consumers. “Growth in retail is key to ensuring that the economic recovery results in significant job creation,” he said.
“The Budget in October offers the Government a chance to put money back into the pockets of hard pressed consumers, encouraging them to spend and giving retailers reason to start hiring new staff. It is absolutely vital that the Minister takes that opportunity.”
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Conor O'Brien