Irish economy bounces back as retail sales jump by 90% in a year

The volume of sales hit a historic high following the pandemic and were higher than comparable figures in April 2019.
Irish economy bounces back as retail sales jump by 90% in a year

By Cate McCurry, PA

The volume of retail sales had its highest annual increase ever recorded, according to figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The latest figures show there was an increase in retail sales of 90 per cent in the year, following its largest decline on record in April last year, when it dropped by more than 43 per cent.

Retail sales for April this year were 7.1 per cent higher compared to April 2019.

Furniture and lighting increased sevenfold and motor trades increased by sixfold on an annual basis from last year’s very low base.

The food business sector, which remained open throughout the pandemic, grew by a more modest 3.1 per cent.

The CSO released the Retail Sales Index April 2021.

CSO statistician Stephanie Kelleher said: “Retail sales in April 2021 increased by 7.4% on the month and by 90.1% on the year.

“This annual increase is the highest on record, but caution should be exercised when interpreting the annual change as the comparison is with an historically low base.

“Comparing April 2021 with the same period two years ago (April 2019) shows the volume of Retail Sales increased by 7.1%.”

She added: “In April 2021, the list of essential retail allowed to remain open was broader than was the case in April 2020 during the first lockdown.

“By the third lockdown, consumers and retailers had become more accustomed to the restricted market conditions.

“The sectors with the highest annual increases were furniture and lighting (+694%), motor trades (+576%) and hardware, paints and glass (+166%).

“While these annual increases look impressive, they simply reflect a recovery from the lows of last year.

“The food business sector remained open throughout and their annual increase was more modest non-specialised stores, including supermarkets, which increased by 3.2%) and food, beverages and tobacco, which increased by 9.7%.

“When motor trades are excluded, the figures are not as dramatic, decreasing 4.1% monthly and increasing 27.6% annually.

“These included bars (-88.8%), department stores (-73.4%), clothing, footwear and textiles (-68.2%), books, newspapers and stationery (-50.7%) and fuel (-11.1%).

“All other sectors had a volume of sales in April 2021 which exceeded the level of April 2019, the highest increases were seen in hardware, paints and glass (+34.1%), motor trades (+28.2%) and food, beverages and tobacco (+26.7%).”

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