Retail sales jump 8.6 per cent on an annual basis
Retail sales volumes rose by just 0.3 per cent in September, but were up 8.6 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Excluding car sales, retail sales were up 0.7 per cent versus August and up 8 per cent on an annual basis.
The latest figures show a 0.1 per cent decline in the value of retail sales from August. However, when compared to September 2014, there was a 4.9 per cent rise in value of sales. If car sales are excluded, the value of sales was down 0.1 per cent compared to August but was up 4.1 per cent as against the same month a year earlier.
The sectors with the largest month-on-month volume decreases were furniture and lighting, down 2.6 per cent, food, beverages and tobacco, down 2.2 per cent and bars, down 1.6 per cent.
The ‘other retail sales’ category rose 1.9 per cent versus August, while ‘non-specialised stores’ volumes gained 1.2 per cent and fuel rose by 0.6 per cent.
Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said the latest data were a touch lower than expected but added that while retail sales remain erratic on a monthly basis, the underlying trend is positive.
“While most attention has been on cars, personal spending in other areas is picking up too and is becoming more broad-based. This can only be good news for retailers and employment prospects in the sector,” he said.
Investec economist Philip O’Sullivan also noted the improvement across different segments.
“In value terms, 10 of the 13 sectors recorded annual growth, but at least two of these (Food, Beverages & Tobacco and Fuel) reflects commodity price weakness as opposed to any ‘Irish specific’ issues,” he said.
“For some time now we have argued that 2015 will be the strongest year for Irish retailers since the demise of the Celtic Tiger, with these data providing no reason to alter this assessment,” Mr O’Sullivan added.
Davy analyst Dave McNamara said the latest figures pointed “to another strong out-turn for consumer spending when the third quarter GDP data are released later in the year.”