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Ireland: retail sales volumes up by 44%

Jun 29, 2021 Ireland
Ireland: retail sales volumes up by 44%
Retail sales increased by 1.8% in May 2021 when compared to April 2021 on a seasonally adjusted basis. On an annual basis, retail volumes were 44.0% higher than in May 2020. The retail sales figure for May 2021 was 6.8% higher when compared to two years earlier
According to data from the Irish Central Statistics Office, while recovering from the low level of May 2020, the sectors with the highest annual volume increases were Clothing, Footwear & Textiles (+462%), Furniture & Lighting (+195%) and Motor Trades (+139%). The same source highlights that, although such "annual increases are significant, caution should be exercised when interpreting these changes, as the comparison is with a low base from a year ago". In May of last year, the annual volume of retail sales in Clothing, Footwear & Textiles fell by 78.5%, Furniture & Lighting fell by 66.5% while Motor Trades dropped by 50.2%.

Compared to May 2019 (two years earlier and pre-COVID-19), the volume of retail sales in May 2021 was 6.8% higher. Several sectors were below their corresponding level of sales in May 2019. These included Bars (-92.0%), Books, Newspapers & Stationery (-65.2%), Department Stores (-17.3%), Fuel (-12.1%) and Furniture & Lighting (-1.1%). All other sectors had a volume of sales in May 2021 which exceeded May 2019 levels. The highest increases were seen in Hardware, Paints & Glass (+25.3%), Electrical Goods (+23.3%), Food, Beverages & Tobacco (Specialised Stores) (+21.0%), Clothing, Footwear & Textiles (+20.6%), Motor Trades (+19.1%) and Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) (+15.4%). See Table 3a.

In May 2021, the largest monthly volume increases in sales were recorded in Clothing, Footwear & Textiles (+198%) and Department Stores (+197%). For the first time this year both sectors reopened: on the 10th of May by appointment only and fully on 7 days later. This is in contrast to May of last year when both sectors were closed. The largest decreases in the month were in Bars (-33.3%) from a very low base and Books, Newspapers & Stationery (-27.4%). See Table 3.

The proportion of retail sales transacted online (from Irish registered companies) fell to 6.0% in May 2021, down from 10.1% of all retail sales in April 2021 and from 13.2% in May of last year. As instore shopping resumed in May 2021, the proportion of online sales in Clothing, Footwear & Textiles fell to 11.2% compared to 58.2% of sales transacted online in the previous month.

The value of retail sales was 1.1% higher in May 2021 than in April 2021. On an annual basis the value of retail sales was 47.3% higher than May 2020.

Image credits: Anna Church on Unsplash

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