Retail sales continue to decline

Retail sales continue to decline

Retail sales volumes fell for the third consecutive month in April, decreasing by 0.9% from March, and dragging the annual rate further into negative territory at -3.2% (-2.0% in March).

The cash value of sales rose only 0.1% in the year to April.

The monthly decline in April was below the 1.7% drop in March, however.

The decline has been blamed on a number of factors, including the deterioration in the Isrish labour market and high inflation.

Following a weak month on March (-4.3% m/m), sales in motor trades actually increased in April, up 3.6% on last month. However, in annual terms the rate of change remained in the red, albeit that the rate of decline of 3.6% was less than the 8.6% decrease in March.

Retail sectors linked to housing continued to perform poorly, indicative of the fall-off in completions in recent months. Total sales of household equipment fell by 3.4% in the month, driven by the 7.6% decline in the hardware, paints and glass component. In annual terms, total household equipment down 9.9%.

Sales in food businesses fell by 3.1% on a monthly basis, turning the annual rate of change negative (-0.7%) for the first time since July 2003.

Bars also continued on their losing streak, falling by 2.2% in the month. Following a modest increase in March (+0.8%), sales in clothing and footwear fell by 5.8% in April.

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