Retail sales slide in 12 months to August as car sales slump

Volume of retail sales up 2% compared with the previous month, CSO figures show

Retail sales fell 5.6 per cent in the 12 months to August 2022, new data from the Central Statistics Office showed.

The annual decline was fuelled by a fall-off in sales of cars, which were down 12.2 per cent; a 7 per cent decline in tobacco, food and drink from specialised stores; and sales of furniture and lighting, which showed a drop of 6.3 per cent year on year.

Sales in the other retail sector, which includes items such as music and video recordings, games, toys, flowers, pet food and other goods, declined almost 16 per cent year on year.

However, despite growing pressure from inflation on consumers’ spending power, the volume of retail sales in August 2022 was 3.2 per cent higher than in February 2020, before Covid-19 hit the economy.


The volume of retail sales was up 2 per cent compared with the previous month. On a monthly basis, the largest volume increases were in books, newspapers and stationery, rising 28 per cent. The volume of fuel sales were up 7.2 per cent, while department stores rose almost 7 per cent. Only the furniture and lighting and non-specialised stores showed a monthly volume decrease. Bars showed an increase in sales volume of 7.5 per cent.

Year on year, bar sales were up 17.7 per cent, although that was compared with a low base when restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 were in place.

Excluding the motor trade, retail sales were up 2.3 per cent month on month, and down 2.6 per cent on an annual basis.

Online sales edged higher year on year, at 4.9 per cent of retail sales from Irish registered companies, compared with 4.8 per cent a year earlier and 4.5 per cent in August 2020.

The value of retail sales was 4.4 per cent higher in August 2022 compared with July 2022 and 3.4 per cent higher than a year earlier.

In the fuel sector, value rose 20.5 per cent year on year, while volume was down 3.5 per cent.

“Excluding motor trades, the value of retail sales increased by 2.3 per cent in the month and increased by 6.3 per cent on an annual basis,” said Stephanie Kelleher, statistician in the business statistics division.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist