Rate of decline in retail sales increases to six per cent

Irish retail sales levels continued to fall in the second quarter of 2011 according to Retail Excellence Ireland’s (REI ) Irish Retail Industry Performance Review Q2 2011.

Overall, year-on-year sales levels fell by an average of six per cent during the second quarter of 2011, increasing from a rate of decline of three per cent in the first quarter. Unsurprisingly, this continued the longstanding trend of falling sales in Ireland’s retail industry and saw June 2011 recorded as the 40th consecutive month of sales decline.

Electrical goods and ladies’ fashion were the worst performing sectors in Q2, falling by 9.5 per cent and eight per cent respectively. Of serious concern is the fact that all retail sectors recorded falls in year-on-year sales levels, with even the best performing sector, hot beverages, recording a fall of some three per cent in sales.

Speaking at the publication of the Q2 retail figures, REI chief executive officer, David Fitzsimons, said: “It’s clear from the Q2 figures that the decline in the retail sales has not yet reached the bottom. While many had hoped that during 2011 the relentless decline we have seen since 2007 would level off, this is simply not happening. Consumers are continuing to hold back on many of the purchases that were commonplace in recent years. Declines in areas like ladies’ fashions and electrical goods are symptomatic of this depressed consumer sentiment.

“With further anticipated interest rate rises and the Government continuing to talk of increased charges, we don’t anticipate any pick up in sentiment in the coming months. As a result of this trend, allied to scandalously high retail rents and inflexible labour costs, many retailers will be forced to close their doors and more retail jobs will be lost throughout Ireland. In addition to the 40,000 retail jobs that have already been lost since 2008, we estimate that a further 40,000 jobs are currently under threat.”


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