Sales of clothing and footwear fall by fifth in May

Volume of retail sales in Ireland drops 1.6% between April and May but is up 5.1% on May 2022

Sales of clothing, footwear and textiles fell by more than a fifth in May compared with the previous month, according to the latest retail sales index published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The May figures show that the volume of retail sales fell by 1.6 per cent between April and May but they are still 5.1 per cent ahead of the level from May of last year.

These headline volume figures are significantly impacted by the motor trade. When figures on the sale, trade and maintenance of vehicles and motorcycles are excluded, the volume of retail sales rose by 0.1 per cent between April and May, and by 2.6 per cent year-on-year.

Largest monthly volume decreases were recorded in clothing, footwear and textiles, which saw a 21.6 per cent drop in sales in May when compared with April. The volume of sales of books, newspapers and stationery fell by 7.8 per cent, while the volume of sales in motor trades also decreased by 7 per cent.


The highest monthly volume increases were in electrical goods (up 4.1 per cent), other retail sales (up 3.2 per cent), and pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic articles (up 2.2 per cent).

Comparing last month with May of 2022, motor trades have seen the largest annual volume growth of 11.2 per cent. This is followed by sales of fuel up 10 per cent, sales at bars showing an increase of 7.4 per cent, other retail sales up 6.6 per cent and a 6.5 per cent increase in furniture and lighting.

Meanwhile, hardware, paints and glass showed the largest annual volume decline of 4.3 per cent in May with department store sales 3.3 per cent lower.

By value, sales were 1.7 per cent weaker in May than in April but rose 9.2 per cent in the 12 months from May 2022.

Just over one in 20 sales from Irish registered companies was transacted online in May, up fractionally on the April figure but down from 5.7 per cent in May 2022, and 5.6 per cent in May 2021.

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.