Spending on cars, clothing and footwear falls

Retail sales fell by 0.2 per cent in October, reversing the previous month’s increase, as sales of cars, clothing and footwear all showed a marked decline.

The latest tranche of retail sales data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed the volume of sales last month fell by 0.9 per cent on an annual basis, reflecting ongoing weaknesses in consumer demand.

When car sales are stripped out, there was no change in the volume of sales compared with the previous month, and a decrease 1.6 per cent in the annual figure.
The sectors with the largest monthly increases were furniture and lighting which enjoyed an 4.9 per cent jump in sales, and electrical goods which saw sales rise by 2.5 per cent.

The motor trade showed the biggest monthly decrease with the volume of sales falling 4.4 per cent. Clothing, footwear and textiles sales were also down by 2.9 per cent in the month.
There was no change in the value of retail sales in the month of October when compared with the previous month but there was annual decrease of 2.1 per cent.

When motor trades were excluded, the value of retail sales rose 0.3 per cent but fell by 2.5 per cent on an annual basis.
Isme chief executive Mark Fielding said the economy was showing some signs of improvement but, as the sales figures shows, current progress was not happening fast enough to revive “the struggling retail sector”.

He said the Government still needed to tackle the issues of upward only rents, high labour costs and poor availability of credit.
The situation was being compounded by the threatened ESB strike, he said.
“Retailers are dependent on this busy period to boost revenue for the year and they cannot afford to have this spending period interrupted.”

“A strike is likely to drastically decrease pre-Christmas sales in much the same way that the bad weather of 2010 did, of course the difference is that this impending disaster is manmade and completely avoidable.”

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