Retail sales flat for December, CSO says

No bounce

Retail spending in December was flat overall, compared with November, the latest data from the Central Statistics Office shows.

Stephanie Kelleher, Statistician in the Business Statistics Division for the CSO said that “retail sales were unchanged in December 2022 when compared with November 2022 on a seasonally adjusted basis.”

When motor sales are stripped out, the volume of retail sales actually fell by 1.8% over the month while the volume of sales over the year was up by just 0.1%.

For December, monthly volume increases were recorded in Motor Trades, up 4.0% – while Other Retail Sales were up 2.8%, and Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) were up 1.4%.

Books, Newspapers & Stationery recording an increase of 0.8%.

The largest monthly volume decreases were in Clothing, Footwear & Textiles, with a 16.8 fall in sales. Sales in Electrical Goods were down 7.7%, while Furniture & Lighting were down almost 6%.

Retail sales in Food, Beverages & Tobacco (Specialised Stores) were down 3.5%, and Hardware, Paints & Glass fell 3.2%.

While the largest annual volume increase was in Bars (+54.7%), the CSO said that “caution should be exercised with this level of growth as it is compared with a low base from the previous year”.

“With the arrival of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in December 2021 restrictions were re-introduced, including an 8pm closing time for bars just before Christmas. Despite this large recovery, Bar sales remained 12.5% lower than their pre-COVID-19 level in February 2020,” the statistics office said.


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