There was a 4.3% increase in the volume of retail sales during May 2018 compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.
Seasonally adjusted, the volume of retail sales increased by 0.1 per cent in the month of May, when adjusted seasonally. Excluding motor trades, there was an increase of 1.5% in the volume of retail sales in May in comparison to April, and there was an increase of 4.7% in the annual figure. The sectors that saw the largest increases in monthly volume were hardware, paints and glass which saw an increase of 8.9%, no doubt helped by the recovery in homebuilding activity. Sales of furniture and lighting are up 6 per cent on the year and electrical goods are up 8.3%. Department stores sales are up 6.4 per cent and non-specialised stores (including supermarkets) sales increased by 4.8 per cent.per cent. Books, newspapers and stationery also saw growth of 4.3 per cent.
There was an annual increase of 3.7 per cent when compared with May 2017 but a slight decrease of 0.4% in the value of retail sales in May when compared with April.
Irish consumer spending is set for “another solid increase”, driven by positive developments in the jobs market and household earnings according to analysis from the Davy Group.
“Once again the best performing sectors are those which suffered badly during the recession, big-ticket items and discretionary purchases, where spending is now bouncing back,” according to the group. “Looking forward, we expect Irish consumer spending to record 3.2 per cent growth in 2018 after the 1.9 per cent rise in 2017 and 3 per cent growth in 2019.”
Speaking to the Irish Times, Alan McQuaid, an economist with Merrion Stockbrokers, said retail sales “remain erratic” on a monthly basis and that while they are “still swinging back and forth”, the underlying trend is “positive”. “Even with the fluctuation in consumer sentiment, overall personal spending has been positive in the past couple of years, boosted by the increase in the numbers employed in the country,” he said.