The volume of retail sales (i.e. excluding price effects) increased by 1.4% in March 2015 when compared with February 2015 and there was an increase of 9.2% in the annual figure. If Motor Trades are excluded, there was a decrease of 1.0% in the volume of retail sales in March 2015 when compared with February 2015 and there was an increase of 4.7% in the annual figure.
The sectors with the largest month on month volume increases were Motor Trades (+4.1%), Bars (+4.0%) and Other Retail Sales (+2.6%). The sectors with the largest monthly decreases were Department Stores (-3.2%), Non-Specialised Stores (excluding Department Stores) (-2.4%) and Fuel (-1.0%).
There was an increase of 1.2% in the value of retail sales in March 2015 when compared with February 2015 and there was an annual increase of 5.7% when compared with March 2014. If Motor Trades are excluded, there was a monthly decrease of 0.9% in the value of retail sales and an annual increase of 1.2%.
Juliet Tennent of Goodbody commented: "The Irish consumer recovery appears to have picked up steam in March, with total retail sales up by an impressive 9.2% yoy. However, this is driven by motor trades and on a core basis sales volumes rose by a solid, but slower 4.7% yoy, and actually fell 1% mom. The period also covers to the 4th of April, so will have benefitted from the early Easter. That said the annual rise of 4.8% yoy in core Q1 sales volumes is very solid.
Discounting remains a major driver: The recovery is also broad-based with 10 of the 13 categories seeing annual increases. Within this, 5 sectors are experiencing double digit growth; Motor trades 23%, Other 19%, Furniture & lighting 19%, Electrical goods 11% & Hardware, paints & glass 10%. However, discounting continues to be a major driver with the core sales deflator indicating declines of 3.4% yoy in prices. In line with recent trends, this is led by the decline in fuel prices (-8.5% yoy), but all sectors except for Books etc. are seeing falling prices."