The volume of Irish retail sales (i.e. excluding price effects) decreased by
0.7% in February 2011 when compared with February 2010 and there was a monthly
increase of 3.2%. If Motor Trades are excluded, the volume of retail sales
dipped by -3.2% in February 2011 when compared with February 2010, while there
was a monthly decrease of 0.3%.
The CSO said Motor Trades (5.3%), Non-Specialised Stores (0.5%) and Clothing,
Footwear & Textiles (0.7%) were amongst the four categories that showed
year-on-year increases in the volume of retail sales this month. Pharmaceuticals
Medical and Cosmetic Articles (-7.0%) Fuel (-8.0%), Furniture & Lighting
(-12.9%) and Other Retail Sales (-11.4%) were amongst the nine categories that
showed year-on-year decreases in the volume of retail sales this month.
The value of retail sales fell 0.3% in February 2011 when compared with
February 2010 and there was a month-on-month change of +1.0%. If Motor Trades
are excluded, there was an annual decrease of 1.9% in the value of retail sales
and a monthly decrease of 0.8%.
IBEC group's Retail Ireland
director Torlach Denihan said: "Retail sales continued to deteriorate into
February. Consumers adjusted their spending as many received the first monthly
pay cheque at end January affected by the Budget tax increases.
"The fact that the value of core retail sales (excluding cars and bars) is now
into the fourth year of decline shows the need for urgent action by the new
Government to help sustain the 240,000 jobs in the retail sector. Urgent reform
is needed to reduce key business costs, such as rent, Joint Labour Committee pay
scales, and commercial rates, and improve access to credit.
"Government must act to restore consumer confidence so that consumers will spend
instead of saving excessively.
"Legislation to address unsustainable commercial rents is needed urgently. The
new Attorney General should immediately review the issue of upward only rent
review clauses, with a view to clearing the way for new legislation to abolish
them in existing leases.
"The Joint Labour Committee for setting wages in the retail grocery sector are
destroying jobs and are unnecessary because of the national minimum wage. The
ongoing review of these rules must lead to a major overhaul in the system."
The solution for retail demand is
not wage cuts but growth in the economy.
Retail Excellence Ireland called on
the Government to speedily implement a series of reform measures to allow Irish
retailers to adjust their cost base.
David Fitzsimons, REI CEO
said, "Ireland's retail industry is in the 38th
consecutive month of decline. Today's CSO figures show clearly that the
moderation in the rate of this decline that we saw in the December and January
figures has ended. February saw the rate of retail sales decline increase again.
One of the leading reasons for this trend is the introduction of the Universal
“The solution is for the
Government to act speedily to implement the package of reforms outlined in the
Programme for Government. Reforms such as banning upwards only rent reviews and
modernising the industry wage setting mechanisms will be crucial if large
sections of Ireland's retail industry is to survive. With retail sales
continuing to fall, retailers must be facilitated in adjusting their cost base
to the hugely changed trading environment."
Davy economist, Cathal McCoille,
Retail sales decline in
The volume of retail sales
excluding motor trades fell by 0.3% in February on the month;
The decline in February followed
a sharp fall of 2.7% in December and a rise of 2.7% in January;
Today's release suggests that
the January data reflected a weather-related rebound and that the outlook
for consumer spending remains weak;
The decline in retail sales is
not surprising given the decline in consumer confidence through the second
half of 2010, the fiscal retrenchment and the continued fall in employment.
Volatile headline measure
including motor trades rises on the month
The overall seasonally adjusted
volume of retail sales rose by 3.2% on the month but fell by 0.7% compared
with February 2010;
In value terms, sales rose by
1.0% on the month and declined by 0.3% compared with February 2010;
The volume of sales in motor
trades and department stores grew by 5.0% and 11.5% respectively on the
month and by 5.3% and 0.2% in annual terms.