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Ireland's retail sales down 4.7 percent in August

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Staff Writer | September 29, 2016
The volume of retail sales decreased by 4.7 percent in August compared to July.
Ireland   The volume of retail sales rose by 5.2 percent
The statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the big monthly fall was mainly due to weaker new car sales following the strong showing in July as the 162 registration plates came into operation.

But on an annual basis, the volume of retail sales rose by 5.2 percent, the CSO said.

Economists here said that although retail sales remain erratic on a monthly basis, the underlying trend is still positive.

"While most attention was on cars last year and will be again in 2016, personal spending in other areas has generally picked up in recent months and is becoming more broad-based.

"This can only be good news for retailers and employment prospects in the sector," said Alan McQuaid, chief economist with the Dublin-headquartered Merrion Stockbrokers.

He said consumer confidence hit a 15-year high in January but has dipped since mainly on uncertainty over the Brexit referendum.

"Still, overall, spending was quite robust in the first eight months of the year, with headline sales up 7.2 percent year-on-year on average in volume terms," he added.

The weakness of the euro against both sterling and the dollar boosted the spending of holidaymakers to Ireland from the United States and Britain in 2015, though the single currency will likely strengthen in 2016, according to the Irish economist.