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Going down: Retail sales fall in April

Sales had been on the up for two months running but the latest figures from the CSO paint a bleaker picture. The weather, VAT, and the government have been blamed.

Image: alandberning via Flickr

THE VOLUME OF retail sales fell in April according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figures show that the volume and value of sales in the retail sector fell by 1.5 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively in April from March. The previous two months had seen sales grow.

The annual percentage change shows a fall of 2.7 per cent in volume and 1.8 per cent in value.

When motor trades are excluded the volume of retail sales fell by 1.8 per cent in April when compared with March, while the value of retail sales fell by 1.6 per cent. There was an annual decrease of 3.8 per cent when motor trades are excluded.

The largest month-on-month volume decreases came in the hardware, paints and glass sector where there was a fall of over six per cent. Clothing, footwear and textiles, and motor trade also saw falls. A monthly increase was seen in the other retail sales, fuel and electrical goods sectors.

Retail Excellence Ireland blamed the poor weather in April for the fall in sales but said that its members were optimistic ahead of the referendum and Euro 2012.

“Retail owners are hoping to see more favourable sales levels over the coming weeks and months,” Retail Excellence Ireland CEO David Fitzsimons said.

“Their hope is that a victory for the ‘yes’ side in Thursday’s referendum will give a lift to consumer confidence. Retailers are also hoping to see a boost from Ireland’s participation in the Euro 2012 in Poland – 55 per cent of retailers expect their sales to increase as a result of Ireland’s participation.”

Chambers Ireland blamed the VAT increase for the fall in sales, its deputy CEO Seán Murphy saying: “We urge the Government to focus on cost containment measures in the upcoming budget rather than raising taxes thereby supporting the economy through 2013.”

Sinn Féin also targeted government policy with its spokesperson on jobs and enterprise, Peadar Tóibín, saying that the “policy of austerity” is failing.

“The policy of this government of taking money out of the economy and pockets of the workers is driving down demand and undermining our domestic economy,” he said. “It is closing down businesses and costing jobs.”

Last month: Retail sales on the up for second month running

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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