Bars and cars still lagging consumer spending bounce

Retail sales - in terms of both volume and value - grew in the second quarter of the year, but pubs and car dealerships remained the traditional losers.

Bars and cars still lagging consumer spending bounce

Retail sales - in terms of both volume and value - grew in the second quarter of the year, but pubs and car dealerships remained the traditional losers.

New CSO figures show that consumer spending levels grew by 1.7%, year-on-year, in June and by the same level in the three months to the end of last month when motor sales are excluded.

In the quarter it was only car dealerships and pub owners feeling the heat - motor sales down 3.4% year-on-year and sales in pubs and bars falling 5.5% on the same three months of last year.

When measured on a month-by-month basis retail sales have been erratic of late, but commentators see the underlying trend remaining positive.

"Even with the fluctuation in consumer sentiment, overall personal spending has been positvie in the past few years, boosted by the increase in the numbers employed in the country," said economist Alan McQuaid.

This is despite the fact that the weakness in sterling since the Brexit referendum has enticed some shoppers to spend in the North.

"What happens on the currency and Brexit fronts will be important factors in determining overall consumer spending patterns in the Republic over the next 12-18 months, but we are still expecting to see healthy personal consumption in the Irish economy in 2019 and 2020 as things currently stand," he said.

"As regards 2019, we think personal spending will post another positive increase as the unemployment rate continues to drop and disposalbe incomes rise.

"An increase of 2% is projected for headline sales, with core sales forecast to be 4% higher in the year," Mr McQuaid said.

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