Retail sales down 1.7% in October 2021 compared to September

Retail sales down 1.7% in October 2021 compared to September

Retail sales dropped 1.7% in October 2021 when compared to September 2021, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The largest monthly volume increases were seen in bars, increasing by 18%; books, news and stationery, which rose by 4.9%; and furniture and lighting which climbed by  2.8%.

The sectors showing the largest monthly decreases in October 2021 were hardware, paints and glass, which plunged 13.4%; and pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic articles, which dropped by 4.9%.

The overall volume of retail sales in October 2019 was 9% higher than pre-Covid levels in October 2019.

Commenting on the release of the Retail Sales Index October 2021 (Provisional) September 2021 (Final), statistician Stephanie Kelleher said: “Retail sales decreased by 1.7% in October 2021 when compared to September 2021.  On an annual basis, retail volumes were 1.5% higher than in October 2020.

“In October 2021, the largest monthly volume increases in sales were recorded in Bars (+18.0%), Books, Newspapers & Stationery and (+4.9%), Furniture & Lighting (+2.8%). The business sectors with the largest monthly decreases were Hardware, Paints & Glass (-13.4%) and Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles (-4.9%).

“The sector with the highest annual volume increase was Bars (+271%). However, it should be noted that in October of last year, the country was under Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions from early October 2020 and Level 5 lockdown for the final 10 days of the month.

“Other sectors to show large increases in volume compared to October 2020 included Clothing & Footwear (+29.4%) and Books, Newspapers & Stationery (+19.1%). The greatest annual decreases in volume occurred in Hardware, Paints & Glass (-21.5%) and Other Retail Sales (-15.9%).”

Pre-Covid levels

Providing further analysis of the figures, Stephanie Kelleher said the CSO is including new tables that compare October 2021 to pre-Covid sales in October 2019.

“Several sectors showed significant changes compared to their corresponding level of sales in October 2019. The highest increases were seen in Electrical Goods (+28.2%), Furniture & Lighting (+26.4%) and Food, Beverages & Tobacco (Specialised Stores) (+20.3%).

“Three sectors had a volume of sales in October 2021 which decreased from October 2019 levels namely Bars (-6.0%), Fuel (-6.0%) and Books, Newspapers & Stationery (-4.2%).

The proportion of retail sales transacted online (from Irish registered companies) was 5.7% in October 2021 compared to 4.6% in September 2021, 6.0% in October 2020 and 3.4% in October 2019.