‘Back to school’ effect sees retail sales rebound in September

Car sales plummet 18% as a weak pound prompts higher used-car imports from UK

The weakness of sterling has led to higher used-car imports from the UK. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The weakness of sterling has led to higher used-car imports from the UK. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

 

Retail sales, excluding cars, rebounded in September, as consumers came back from summer holidays and spent on back to school expenses.

Car sales plummeted by 18 per cent however, as a weak sterling is leading to a spike in used car imports from the UK.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that in September, retail sales fell by 2.4 per cent in the month, but when the sale of cars are excluded, retail sales rose by 1.3 per cent when compared with August 2017.

On an annual basis, sales rose by 1.2 per cent in the year to September, or by 7.7 per cent when car sales are excluded.

Pointing to renewed growth in the housing market, the sectors with the largest monthly volume increases were furniture & lighting (4.7 per cent), electrical goods (3.4 per cent) and other retail sales (2 per cent).

The biggest month on month volume decreases were motor trades (-18 per cent) and clothing, footwear & textiles (-3.1 per cent).

Fall in unemployment

Alan McQuaid, economist with Merrion Capital, expects continued growth in retail sales, boosted by the continued fall in unemployment.

“We are now forecasting headline retail sales volume growth of 3.5-4.0 per cent in 2017,” he said, adding that the increase in “core” sales is projected to be as high as 6.5 per cent on the year.

Davy Research economist David McNamara said the data suggested consumer spending grew strongly in the third quarter and “should be a key contributor” to economic growth this year.