Bar sales down by 12% as retail also dips

BAR sales are down almost 12% in the last 12 months, with new figures showing consumers are still reluctant to spend.

Sales of electrical goods, clothing and purchases at department stores, however, all showed a pick-up.

Figures from the CSO show the volume of retail sales fell by 0.9% last month from August, leading to an annual drop of 0.3%.

The volume of sales had risen in August after three months of falls.

Hardware, paints and glass sales were down 5.4%, while bar sales fell another 2.2%, bringing their 12-month fall to 11.6%.

The value of sales, which takes prices into account, fell by 1.2% in September, giving an annual drop of 2.6%.

Davy analyst, Aidan Corcoran said, excluding motor trades, the decline in retail sales was 2.5%.

He said given that motor trades sales is one of the more volatile headings, its exclusion may provide a truer picture of underlying trends.

“The fall is disappointing, but is hardly surprising given the concern regarding the short-term economic outlook, with soon-to-be-announced fiscal consolidation measures certain to hit consumer spending power next year and sentiment now,” he said.

Ulster Bank economist, Lynsey Clemenger said Irish retail sales put in a disappointing performance in September.

“It has to be said that this latest deterioration in retail sales, which particularly showed through in last month’s figures, is not all that surprising given the sharp fall in consumer confidence in September.

As it looks increasingly as though poor consumer sentiment is feeding through to actual spending by consumers, we will be keeping a close eye on confidence figures in the months ahead given their relative timeliness,” she said.

There was a 5.4% monthly rise in sales of electrical goods which Ms Clemenger said is a possible indication that at least some discretionary spending is taking place.

“Sales in this category are up some 5.5% compared with September last year, while sales in department stores have also been bucking the generally weak trend and are up 8.5% up on year-ago levels,” she said.

“The consumer remains under a lot of pressure, with the weak state of the labour market playing a big role here.

“And while we have seen some easing in the rate of deterioration of the jobs market in recent quarters, it is difficult to see any reason why consumer spending will end 2010 on a strong footing,” she added.


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