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Retail sales still dropping, industry figures show

Many stores face going out of business in 2012, according to the chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland.

Image: Photocall Ireland

RETAIL SALES ARE continuing to decline, with further falls in the last three months of 2011 according to an industry body.

Retail Excellence Ireland said the 1.6 per cent drop was part of a “longstanding trend” of decreasing sales, and warned many stores were expected to go out of business in 2012.

One bright spot in the survey was a year-on-year rise in December sales – a spike which is largely down to snowfalls at the end of 2010, REI said.

Chief executive David Fitzsimons said the quarterly drop was “due primarily to significantly weakened consumer sentiment” caused by “the growing Eurozone crisis and the repeated negative commentary regarding domestic austerity measures.”

However, garden centres saw a 4.75 per cent increase in sales – and menswear also performed well with 1.78 per cent growth. Furniture and jewellery were the worst hit areas, both falling by around five per cent.

Fitzsimons said the outlook was poor for 2012, with some retailers choosing to “rationalise” store numbers and others to “exit the market completely.” He added: “Many others will not be fortunate enough to be in a position to make that decision – it will be made for them.”

More: Retailers pessimistic about 2012, says IBEC>

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Michael Freeman

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