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Retail sector slump continues as sales weaken in September

Retail sales were down 3.9 per cent in September when compared to the corresponding month in 2010.

THE VALUE AND volume of retail sales decreased during September, according to new figures released by the Central Statistics Office this morning.

The volume of sales fell by 3.9 per cent when compared with September 2010 – the biggest drop since April this year.

Compared with August 2011, sales were down 0.8 per cent.

The only categories that showed month-on-month increases were electrical goods (2.7 per cent), department stores (0.3 per cent), other retail sales (0.5 per cent) and non-specialised stores (0.2 per cent).

Furniture and lighting and motor trades did not fare as well, showing 4.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent decreases respectively. Food, beverages and tobacco sales were also down 2.8 per cent in the month.

The value of retail sales fell by 0.6 per cent in the month and 3.3 per cent when compared with September 2010.

Marred by weak consumer sentiment and dropping incomes, the retail sector has been in a slump since 2007.

This is the fourth consecutive month of falling retail sales in terms of volume and value. In June, the value of sales was up slightly but the last time growth in sales volumes was noted by the CSO was in January 2011. However, this growth was mainly driven by the Government scrappage scheme which boosted the motor trade. Overall sales figures have suffered since the scheme ended in June.

Reacting to the poor figures, ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, called on the Government to tackle the high cost-base which it claims is “wiping out” the sector.

“Today’s figures, confirm, once again, the disastrous situation in which the majority of small and medium retailers find themselves. With sales values and volumes continuing to decline, the sector that employs over 250,000 jobs and is pivotal to the survival of local economies must be saved,” said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.

“Unfortunately, the Government seems to be more concerned about fawning to the Troika than addressing the immediate concerns of real businesses on the ground.”

Read more: Footfall increases slightly, but shoppers not spending more>

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