Volume of Sales in Irish Department Stores Drops by Nearly 12% in July, New Data Reveals
New figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show a significant decline in the volume of sales in department stores during July, with a drop of nearly 12% compared to the same period last year. The data highlights a shift in consumer spending towards purchasing cars, fuel, and furniture. In contrast, the overall volume and value of retail sales across all categories increased by 5.9% and 8.6% respectively compared to July 2022. However, when compared to June, both the volume and value experienced a slight decrease of 0.8% and 0.3% respectively.
It is worth noting that if car sales were excluded from the data, the total volume of retail sales actually dropped by 4% compared to June and only increased by a marginal 0.3% compared to July of the previous year. Among the different retail categories, department stores witnessed the largest decline in sales volumes, with a significant drop of 11.7%. Specialty food, drinks, and tobacco stores also experienced a decrease of 8.7%, while electrical goods stores saw a decline of 4.5%. Additionally, sales volumes in bars decreased by 2.7% compared to the same period last year, while supermarkets witnessed a 1.7% drop in sales.
Stephanie Kelleher, a statistician with the CSO, highlighted that five sectors saw growth in the volume of sales when comparing the data on an annual basis. These sectors include “Other Retail Sales,” which saw a substantial increase of 30.3%. Car sales also experienced a growth of 15%, followed by fuel with a 6.3% increase. Furniture and lighting saw a rise of 5.2%, while books, newspapers, and stationery witnessed a modest increase of 4.5%. The category of “Other Retail Sales” encompasses items such as carpets, music and video recordings, and games and toys, among others.
When comparing July’s retail figures to those of June, it is evident that bars saw the largest decline in volume sales, experiencing a decrease of 5.5%. Specialty food, drink, and tobacco stores also witnessed a decrease of 4.3%, while supermarkets saw a drop of 3.5%.
The data also reveals that the proportion of retail sales conducted online through Irish-registered companies decreased slightly from 5.8% in June 2023 to 4.7% in July 2023. This figure is also slightly lower than the 4.8% recorded in July 2022.
Overall, these figures provide valuable insights into the evolving consumer spending patterns in Ireland. The decline in department store sales, coupled with the increased demand for cars, fuel, and furniture, suggests a shift in priorities among Irish consumers. It will be interesting to monitor these trends in the coming months and assess their impact on the retail sector as a whole.