Retail sales rise 2.6 per cent in year to August
But retailers accuse Government of neglect and ‘failing the industry’
Retail sales showed a 2.6 per cent increase year on year in August. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
Retail sales rose 2.6 per cent in August as the volatile motor trade continued toimpact sale figures.
But compared with July, sales were down 1.6 per cent, dragged lower by declines in hardware, paints and glass, and books and newspapers.
Excluding motor trade saw the annual increase fall to 1.2 per cent year on year, and the monthly figure stay in negative territory, but by only 0.2 per cent.
The main increases over the month were seen in the electrical goods sector, which rose by 7.9 per cent compared with July, and clothing and footwear, which rose by 2.6 per cent.
The value of retail sales rose in the year by 1.1 per cent, but declined by 2.7 per cent on a monthly basis.
Davy Stockbrokers noted the 1.6 per cent monthly decline followed a 6.2 per cent rise in July, and were still up 1.2 per cent in the three months to August when the motor trade was discounted.
“ So, even after taking account of the new seasonal pattern of car sales, a recovery in Irish consumer spending has taken place through the summer,” Davy’s Conall Mac Coille wrote in a note.
But ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, said it was concerned at the figures, and accused the Government of “almost total disregard” for the retail sector.
“The dearth of consumer confidence and spending is crippling the retail sector and stifling economic growth and the Government is failing the industry by refusing to act,” chief executive Mark Fielding said. “The list of neglect of the retail trade continues to lengthen with no sign of the code of practice, no retail strategy group and an abdication of responsibility on the upward only rents being suffered by many retailers. A co-ordinated policy approach is crucial and retailers must be called on to play their part in devising this, to ensure that their needs are met.”