Retail sales again fell during March when compared against previous year figures.
Sales fell 1% when compared with March 2011 and have now fallen for each of the first thre months of the year compared to the first three months of 2011.
However as usual RTE and the government are attempting to put a spin on the figures with RTE headlines claiming ,
Retail sales up for second month in a row
One might ask themselves how does RTE and the government consider Retail sales up? They are simply calculating previous months figures, and yes whilst sales are up from February this is not a true indicator of how the economy is doing. The Increase is from marginal increases on the 2 months from a very low base in January. Car sales and food lifted the volume index slightly in February and March. Everything else is down. The Value index is up thanks to inflation particularly in fuel sales.
Retail figures are now back to 2003 figures.
Official figures show that the volume of retail sales for March increased 0.2%, the second month in a row that consumers bought more goods in the economy.
The Central Statistics Office noted however that the volume of sales fell 1%, however, when compared with March 2011.
The level of retail sales has now fallen for each of the first three months of the year when compared with the first three months of 2011.
The value of goods sold increased 0.6% between February and March, but again fell 0.4% when compared with the same period last year.
When motor sales are excluded, the volume of retail sales increased by 0.3% between February and March, but fell 1.7% when compared with March 2011. Motor sales tend to be higher at the beginning of the year and on occasion can distort sales figures.
Motor sales increased 4.1%, bars 3.5%, non-specialised stores 0.7% and furniture and lighting 0.7%. Decreases were recorded in other retail sales -4.9%, electrical goods -4.2% pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic articles -1.6%
Alan McQuaid, Chief Economist with Bloxham stockbrokers noted that sales were 1.3% lower on average than the same period last year and that the annual rate of decline was lower than in both January and February when decreases of 2.0% and 1.7% respectively were recorded.
In the opening quarter of the year, what he described as ‘core’ sales were 2.2% lower than in January-March 2011.
Mixed reaction to the figures: IBEC
Retail Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the retail sector, said that new CSO retail sales figures for March showed a welcome increase when compared with February.
"The improvement on February is very welcome, but the figures are disappointing when compared to last year. Sales of furniture and lighting were hardest hit, falling by 9.4% compared to the same month last year. Hardware sales fell by 8.6%, while sales of electrical goods and books and stationery both fell by almost 6%," said Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said.
Dublin city centre businesses outperformed: Dublin City BID
Figures collated by Dublin City BID, which represents 2,500 businesses in the city centre show that businesses in Dublin City Centre outperformed the national trend with trading in the BID area marginally up in March this year, in comparison March 2011. Nationally, the volume of sales fell by 1%, when compared with March 2011, according to the CSO.
‘The sales figures we have collated from businesses in Dublin City Centre, show that trading in the BID area was marginally up in March this year, in comparison with March 2011. Encouragingly, the city has also maintained the increase in footfall which has been experienced since December 2011." added Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin City BID.