Retail sales rebound with 1.5% increase in April

Having contracted in March, retail sector accelerates again

 The sectors with the largest month-on-month volume decreases were electrical goods and department stores. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The sectors with the largest month-on-month volume decreases were electrical goods and department stores. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Retail sales grew by 1.5 per cent in April having fallen by nearly 2 per cent in March, Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures show.

The monthly rise was driven by increases in furniture and lighting sales, which rose by 13.2 per cent, and fuel sales, which increased by 5.6 per cent.

Retail sales, perhaps the strongest indicator of consumer confidence, expanded by 4.8 per cent on annual basis in April. This is despite fears that a weaker sterling may send shoppers across the Border.

If the notoriously volatile motor sales are excluded, there was an increase of 1 per cent in the volume of retail sales in April and an annual increase of 3.8 per cent.

The sectors with the largest month-on-month volume decreases were electrical goods (-3 per cent) and department stores (1 per cent).

The Brexit-related slump in sterling has also depressed new car sales here with consumers here opting to import used models from the UK.

However, experts insist that while car sales continue to act as a drag on retail spending in Ireland, core sales remain on a solid uptrend.

In value terms, there was an increase of 6.8 per cent in April when compared with March and there was an annual increase of 3.8 per cent when compared with April 2017.

If motor trades are excluded there was an increase of 1 per cent in the month and an increase of 1.8 per cent in the annual figure.