Irish Economy 2014: The volume of retail sales (i.e. excluding price effects) fell by 0.9% in April 2014 when compared with March 2014 and there was an increase of 6.8% in the annual figure. (See Table 1). If Motor Trades are excluded there was an increase of 1.6% in the volume of retail sales in April 2014 when compared with March 2014 and there was an increase of 4.6% in the annual figure.
The CSO reported that sectors with the largest month on month volume increases were Furniture and Lighting (+6.4%), Hardware, Paints & Glass (+3.3%) and Food beverages & Tobacco (+2.4%). The sectors with the largest monthly decreases were Motor Trades (-3.8%), Pharmaceuticals Medical & Cosmetic Articles (-2.2%) and Books, Newspapers and Stationery (-1.5%).
There was a fall of 0.8% in the value of retail sales in April 2014 when compared with March 2014 and there was an annual increase of 4.4% when compared with April 2013. If Motor Trades are excluded, there was a monthly increase of 1.5% in the value of retail sales and an annual increase of 2.8%.
Stephen Lynam, Retail Ireland director, said: "There was an increase in April in the sales in supermarkets and department stores and in the sale of fuel, clothing, furniture and hardware. The continued double digit growth in furniture and lighting sales is indicative of a stronger property market. April's increase of over 20% is hugely welcome by a sector of retail that has had a torrid few years.
"There were, however, falls in sales in specialised
food shops like butchers and bakers, and in book stores, highlighting continued
difficulties for those sectors.
"While the figures for the first quarter of 2014 were disappointing, April's
numbers are much stronger. Retail Ireland is forecasting growth in consumer
spending of around 2% this year and today's data supports this.
Conall Mac Coille,
chief economist at Davy, commented - - "Q1 was
marked by the strength of the motor trade, +27.7% in the year to March, which
offset weaker growth in other retail groups. However, motor sales dipped sharply
in April, down 3.8% month-on-month (mom), offsetting a recovery in other groups.
Retail sales fell 0.9% on April, a 6.8% year-on-year (yoy) rise. Excluding motor
trades, sales were up 1.6% mom and 4.6% yoy.
While households are now feeling financially confident enough to purchase big ticket items like cars, other discretionary purchases were a good deal weaker in Q1. However, in April sectors such as Furniture & Lighting (+6.4% mom), Hardware (+3.3%) and Food & Beverages (2.4%) all added to the growth in volumes. We suspect that some of these hefty rises are due to the late timing of Easter, reflected in strong annual growth in many sectors, so the May data may give a better steer on the underlying strength of retail sales in Q2."
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