Retail sales fall in October as higher borrowing costs and rising prices keep pressure on households

Latest CSO figures show sales fell on a monthly and on annual basis last month

Irish-based retailers suffered a fall-off in sales in October as the impact of high borrowing costs and rising prices kept the squeeze on the households.

Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show the volume of sales was down 0.4 per cent month-on-month in October and down by 0.2 per cent on the same month last year.

When volatile car sales are removed, the volume of sales fell by 0.6 per cent in the month but was up 0.3 per cent on an annual basis.

Consumer spending has remained surprisingly strong despite the strain on household budgets from higher inflation. This has been linked to the fact that the economy remains close to full employment.


The latest figures show the largest monthly volume decreases were recorded in furniture and lighting (-3.5 per cent), motor trades (-1.1 per cent), hardware, paints and glass (-0.9 per cent), and clothing, footwear and textiles (-0.6 per cent).

The highest monthly increases were in fuel (+4.5 per cent), electrical goods (+1.6 per cent), bars (+1.3 per cent), and food, beverages and tobacco (+1.2 per cent).

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European Central Bank policymakers had been worried that the initial surge in energy prices, which has now softened, would keep prices in other areas such as food and services elevated for an extended period but inflation has come faster than most had expected.

Headline inflation in the Irish economy fell to 5.1 per cent in October, down from an annual rate of 6.4 per cent the previous month.

On Wednesday, the CSO will published a flash estimate of the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) for Novermber, which will feed into wider euro zone inflation figures, which are due to be published on Thursday.

The CSO figures show there were annual volume declines in department stores (-10.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and textiles (-7.5 per cent), books, newspapers and stationery (-4.6 per cent), and food, beverages and tobacco (-2.2 per cent).

Sectors showing annual volume growth in October were other retail sales (+10.7 per cent), pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic articles (+4 per cent) and furniture and lighting (+3.7 per cent).

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times