Retail sales volumes rise for 11th straight month

The volumes of retail sales increased for the 11th month in a row in September, edging 0.1% higher compared with August, although they are up 5.9% for the year, according to the CSO.

However, the figure masks underlying trends, which point to some segments of the retail sector gaining strength and other parts facing continued weakness.

Excluding the impact of motor trade, there was a 0.6% decrease in the volume of retail trade in September compared with August, but a 3.1% increase on the year.

“Some of the weakness in September’s sales may be temporary; for example, a decline in clothing and textile sales, down 1.8% on the month, perhaps reflecting the unseasonably warm weather in September,” said Davy analyst Conall MacCoille. “Nonetheless, the concern is that weak nominal wage growth has held back the rebound in Irish consumer spending in the second half of 2014.”

The value of retail sales fell 0.2% in September from August but was up 3.8% year on year.

If motor trades are excluded, there was a monthly decrease of 1.1% in the value of retail sales and an annual increase of 1%.

Investec chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said: “This release serves as a further reminder of how the Irish consumer is making a comeback, with headline retail sales having now posted 11 successive months of growth on a year-by-year basis in both value and volume terms.

“With employment on the rise, signs of upward pressure on earnings in both the private and public sectors, the Irish Government having recently ended its austerity drive and consumer confidence at multi-year highs, we remain optimistic on the outlook for consumer spending in Ireland.”


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