CSO figures published for retail sales in April were encouraging, according to Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector. Retail sales value reflects turnover from sales, and more effectively reflect the standard of current business conditions than sales volume. Last month saw a rise by 2.1% in the value of sales compared with April 2013, excluding motor trades and bars, and a further 4.9% increase in the volume of those sales. Retail Ireland hopes to see this growth continue over the course of the year.
Commenting on the figures, Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said: "There was an increase in April in the sales in supermarkets and department stores and in the sale of fuel, clothing, furniture and hardware. The continued double digit growth in furniture and lighting sales is indicative of a stronger property market. April's increase of over 20% is hugely welcome by a sector of retail that has had a torrid few years.
"There were, however, falls in sales in specialised food shops like butchers and bakers, and in book stores, highlighting continued difficulties for those sectors.
"While the figures for the first quarter of 2014 were disappointing, April's numbers are much stronger. Retail Ireland is forecasting growth in consumer spending of around 2% this year and today's data supports this.
"Growth in retail is key to ensuring that the economic recovery is jobs-rich. One of the biggest problems facing retailers is the high levels of local authority rates and charges. With new councillors elected and preparing to get to work, it is vital that top of their agenda is reducing this burden on struggling retailers in towns and cities around the country."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Charlie Burns