RETAIL SALES IN May fell by nearly half a per cent, the third month in a row that figures have dropped.
Retail figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the overall value of sales in May was down 0.4 per cent, but that overall volume of sales was up by 0.1 per cent.
The value of sales, excluding motor trades and bars, fell by 1.2 per cent in May compared with the same month last year.
The sectors with the largest month-on-month volume increases were hardware, paints and glass, which rose 14.0 per cent and food, beverages and tobacco-specialised stores which rose 5.2 per cent.
The sectors with the largest monthly decreases were motor trades which were down 5.5 per cent and books, newspapers and stationery which fell 3.9 per cent).
Retail Ireland, the IBEC group representing the retail sector, said that the figures showed a need for action.
“These figures are another sign of a weakening domestic economy,” said Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam.
Sales are now down on an annual basis for three months in a row. What we hoped was just a blip has become a trend. This data comes on foot of poor consumer spending figures for the first quarter of the year, released yesterday, that showed the biggest quarter-on-quarter drop since the pit of the recession in 2009.
Lynam added that Retail Ireland would be submitting a plan to the government within the coming weeks.
The Government must instill confidence in consumers, stimulate domestic spending, reduce the cost of doing business, freeze consumer charges and taxes and tackle the black market. Until that happens, the domestic economy cannot hope to see growth.