Retail sales still in decline
Retail sales continued to decline during the second quarter of 2012, according to a new report published today.
Adverse weather conditions were blamed for the poor figures which saw sales decline by an average of 4.27 per cent when compared to the same quarter a year earlier.
Retail Excellence Ireland, which compiled the report, said this was the 13th consecutive quarter in which sales declined.
The group's Irish Retail Industry Performance Review Q2 2012 shows the worst performing sectors included garden centres, down 19.9 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, furniture and flooring, down 9.5 per cent and ladies' fashion, down 7 per cent.
The best performing retail industry sectors included hot beverages, which was up by 1.4 per cent and pharmacy, up 0.75 per cent.
Retail Excellence Ireland said hot beverage sales were helped by adverse weather conditions in Q2 and pharmacy sales were buoyed by strong flu-related sales.
April proved to be the most challenging month of the second quarter with sales falling by 6.87 per cent year-on-year. Garden centre sales were down by almost 40 per cent for the month as poor weather conditions hit Ireland.
The month of May saw an improvement, with Irish retailers reporting a decrease of only 1.27 per cent. The quarter finished in June with a further dip in average sales levels for the industry of 3.71 per cent, compared with June 2011.
Other poorly performing sectors in the second quarter included jewellery, gift & homeware and footwear, which all saw sales declines.
“The second quarter of 2012 may prove to be a significant milestone for a number of retail operators as retail sales took a significant turn for the worse. Three consecutive months of adverse weather, including the wettest June since records began, added to weakened consumer sentiment and a depressed domestic economy contrived to deliver a very distressed situation," said Retail Excellence Ireland's chief executive David Fitzsimons.
"The quarter proved to be the most volatile ever recorded by REI undermining the retailer’s ability to forecast consumer demand with any degree of certainty. With increased media focus on budget 2013 likely in the third quarter it is very likely that matters with deteriorate further," he added.