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July heatwave got us spending (a bit) more

Some of the biggest increases in retail sales were in clothing and footwear, and the bar trade.

Al fresco dining in Dublin in July
Al fresco dining in Dublin in July
Image: Photocall Ireland

A SURGE IN demand for flip-flops, sunglasses and tables in south-facing beer gardens helped drive an increase in retail sales in July.

The country enjoyed a lengthy heatwave for much of the month, and new figures out today show that some of the biggest increases in retail sales were in the categories of ‘clothing, footwear and textiles’ (up 5.3 per cent) and bars (up 2.8 per cent)

Overall, the volume of sales was up by 6.1 per cent over the month – but if the motor trade is excluded that figure drops to 1.3 per cent.  Motor sales experienced by far the biggest increase, 37.4 per cent, as the sector received a boost from the introduction of the new ’132′ reg plate system.

Reacting to the figures, ISME, the small and medium enterprises group, said the slight increase was ‘welcome’ but accused the Government of showing no real interest in the sector.

CEO Mark Fielding said: “They have allowed the rescued banks to hike up bank charges, condoned increases in local government rates and charges and ran away from upward only rents, while threatening the reintroduction of uneconomic wage setting mechanisms”.

Fielding called on the coalition to undertake a number of measures to help the sector, including action to tackle “unrealistic rents” and credit availability.

Séan Murphy of business group Chambers Ireland said the October date for this year’s Budget should help retailers.

“The earlier date for Budget 2014 should reduce the anxiety felt by many consumers in the run-up to the vital Christmas period.”

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“This should allow retailers to capitalise on the positive trading period reflected in these figures.

Murphy called for the introduction of ‘free parking windows’ for town centres, whereby shoppers would be allowed to park for the first two hours without charge as part of a number of measures that could help shop owners.

Read: People spent more money than they usually would during the heatwave >

Video: Let’s take a moment to remember just how great the heatwave was >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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