Retail sales show annual rise of 3.6% in November

Electrical goods, furniture drive rise in sales volume

Retail sales rose in the year to November, increasing by 3.6 per cent as sales of electrical goods, furniture, and newspapers and stationery rose.

Electrical goods saw a rise of 24 per cent over the year in terms of volume, with the furniture category climbed almost 13 per cent.

The seasonally adjusted index showed a month on month decrease in volume of 0.1 per cent in November. When the motor trade was excluded from the figures, that decrease was reversed to a 0.2 per cent increase, and the annual figure was reduced to a 1.9 per cent increase.

On a monthly basis, electrical goods saw a 6.8 per cent rise, while bars recorded a volume increase of 4.1 per cent. The largest decreases were seen in the pharmaceuticals and medical sector, which declined 7.5 per cent, and food, drinks and tobacco, which saw it fall 5.6 per cent.


Monthly value was static, with the annual figure rising 2.7 per cent.

Economist with Merrion Capital Alan McQuaid said sales were weaker than expected but consumers continued to spend solidly on an annual basis, despite bank deposits being at record-highs.

In the first 11 months of 2018, sales were up 3.9 per cent versus the same period of 2017.

"Retail sales continue to remain erratic on a monthly basis and are still swinging back and forth, but the underlying trend is positive. Even with the fluctuation in consumer sentiment, overall personal spending has been positive in the past couple of years, boosted by the increase in the numbers employed in the country. This is despite the fact that the weakness in sterling since the June 2016 Brexit referendum has enticed some shoppers to spend in Northern Ireland, " Mr McQuaid wrote in a note.

“What happens on the currency and Brexit fronts will be important factors in determining overall consumer spending patterns in the Republic over the next twelve to eighteen months, but we are still expecting to see healthy personal consumption in the Irish economy in 2019 as things currently stand.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

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