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Retail sales down for 38th consecutive month

Irish people are spending more on clothes, but less on furniture, fuel, medicines and going to the pub. Year-on-year figures are down almost four per cent.

CONSUMERS ARE CONTINUING to be more careful with their money, spending less on furniture, fuel and going to the pub, according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

The volume of retail sales fell by 3.9 per cent in April, compared with the same time last year, while they fell by 0.8 per cent since March. When them motor trade is excluded, the difference in the volume of retails sales between April 2010 and April 2011 rises to five per cent.

The only categories recording an increase in sales were non-specialised stores, departments stores and clothing, footwear and textiles. Furniture and lighting retailers saw a year-on-year decrease of 16.2 per cent, while fuel sales are down 11.9 per cent compared with figures for April 2010. Bar sales, while up 1.5 per cent on the figure for March of this year, are down six per cent on the April 2010 figure.

Retail Excellence Ireland says the figures show that government action on wages and rents will help retain and create jobs.

David Fitzsimons, CEO of REI says:

While disappointing, today’s retail figures are certainly not surprising. April was the 38th consecutive month of declining sales for the retail industry.

He says that with consumer confidence as low as it is, the retail industry needs immediate assistance from the government. Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton is proposing to cut Sunday and overtime pay rates for over 200,000 workers, including some who work in retail.

Fitzsimons is also highlighting the fall in pharmaceutical and medical sales, blaming the 7.4 per cent drop on restrictions on the sale of codeine over the counter.

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