Retail sales increase during May

28 Jun

The volume of retail sales rose by 8.1% in May when compared to the same month of 2015, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The motor trade had a significant impact on that figure, with volumes up 6.5% when they are excluded.

On a monthly basis, volumes were 0.7% higher in May when compared to April, and up 1.2% when Motor Trades are not counted.

The hardware, paints and glass sectors saw the biggest monthly increase in sales volumes, up 14.3%, while books, newspapers and stationary rose by 10.1%.

The volume of electrical goods sales was down 1.9% in the month, while food, beverages and tobacco volumes declined by 1.2%.

Sales values also rose on a monthly and annual basis, according to the CSO, up 0.6% compared to April and 5.3% compared to May 2015.

When the value of motor trades is not counted, monthly sales were 1.5% higher while the annual figure rose by 3.9%.

Commenting on today's figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that spending was quite robust in the first five months of the year, with headline sales up 7.9% year-on-year on average in volume terms.

However, the economist cautioned that fall-out from last week's Brexit vote and the uncertain economic implications will likely impact negatively on Irish consumer confidence, resulting in lower personal spending.

"A sharp fall in the pound may well entice Irish shoppers to spend in Northern Ireland," he added.

Meanwhile, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association also warned today of the negative effect of the sterling devaluation on border county retailers and the continuing cost creep for business despite zero inflation figures.

ISME said the Government should consider a rates rebate for border retailers together with a root and branch investigation into retail costs to be carried out by the National Competitiveness Council.

"With sterling dropping to a 31 year low this week, retailers along the border are already experiencing the negative impact of Brexit," commented ISME's CEO Mark Fielding.

"This increase in northbound cross-border shopping for everyday items such as groceries and fuel will place border county retailers in jeopardy," he added.

Article by RTE