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.
"Growth in retail is key to ensuring that the economic recovery is jobs-rich.
One of the biggest problems facing retailers is the high levels of local
authority rates and charges. With new councillors elected and preparing to get
to work, it is vital that top of their agenda is reducing this burden on
struggling retailers in towns and cities around the country."
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.
This dip in motor trades was expected given the new seasonality of car sales.
Following the New Year bounce, sales will now steadily decline until the ‘142’
registration spike in July. Nonetheless, the first half of 2014 looks set to be
the best start to the year for car sales since 2008.
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."