Retail sales fall

Irish retail sales volume, excluding price effects, was down 1.5% in April from the previous month, and there was an annual decrease of 2.7%, according to the data released by Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Excluding motor trades, the volume of retail sales declined 1.8% in April from March, while sales volume fell 3.8% year-on-year in the month.

The sectors with the largest month-on-month sales volume decreases were hardware, paints & glass, and department stores, which recorded 6.2% and 3.6% declines, respectively.

Clothing, footwear & textiles sales volume was down 2.9% in April, while motor trade registered a 2.6% decrease in volume of sales.

On a monthly basis, sales volume increased in other retail sales, fuel and electrical goods, which recorded 1.7%, 0.5% and 0.4% rise, respectively, in April.

The value of retail sales was also decreased in April, falling 1.1% from the previous month and slipping 1.8% from April last year.

Excluding motor trades, retail sales value edged down 1.6% month-on-month April, while the value of retail sales was down by 2.3% on an annual basis in the month.

Retail lobby group Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) said while April sales levels disappointed due to poor weather conditions, there are reasons for retailers to be optimistic for the coming period.

REI chief executive David Fitzsimons said April was another disappointing month for Irish retailers, with many sectors suffering from the poor weather.

"Sales in April 2012 were also down on last year’s as Mother’s Day fell in March this year and April 2011 had an extra weekend," Fitzsimons added.

"It is clear that consumer sentiment is still bouncing along the bottom. As a result, sales in many sectors such as household and electrical goods are suffering. The 2% VAT increase is continuing to have a real impact on many retail businesses throughout the country.

"Retail owners are hoping to see more favourable sales levels over the coming weeks and months."

Image: In April 2012, sales decreased in department stores, hardware, paints & glass, clothing, footwear & textiles and motor trade. Photo: Stuart Miles