Retail sector continues to decline
Retail sales continued to fall in the third quarter of the year, with lobby groups blaming speculation in the run-up to the budget.
The third quarter of the year recorded the 14th consecutive decline in retail sales, according to Retail Excellence Ireland’s regular review of the sector. Sales were 1.04 per cent lower year-on-year, it said.
The worst hit sectors were IT and computing, which fell by almost 20 per cent compared to the third quarter of last year, and garden centres, which declined by 8.5 per cent. Photography and cameras were down 7.1 per cent. Women's fashion, furniture and flooring also suffered.
Consumer electronics showed some growth, but this was modest and mainly due to the upcoming digital TV switchover, with sales of small home appliances also growing slightly.
September was the most difficult month in the quarter, with sales down 1.48 per cent. Retail Excellence said this was due to pre-budget speculation which has weighed on consumer sentiment.
“There were mixed fortunes experienced by different sectors in quarter three 2012,” chief executive David Fitzsimons said. “It is disappointing that the quarter gradually disimproved, primarily due to Budget 2013 speculation, indicating that a return to growth is less likely than first thought.”