Bad weather affect retail sales

Retail sales continued to disappoint during the first quarter of 2012 according to Retail Excellence Irelands (REI) Irish Retail Industry Performance Review Q2 2012.

Retail sales continued to disappoint during the first quarter of 2012 according to Retail Excellence Irelands (REI) Irish Retail Industry Performance Review Q2 2012.

The worst performing sectors for Q2 included Garden Centre (down -19.96% on Q2 in 2011), Furniture and Flooring (down -9.55% on Q2 in 2011) and Ladies Fashion (down -7.01% on Q2 in 2011). These categories continue to be affected due to adverse weather conditions in Q2 and consumers holding off on purchasing large ticket items and spring summer clothing.

The best performing retail industry sectors included Hot Beverages and Pharmacy, both increasing sales levels in Q2 2012 compared with Q2 2011. Hot beverage sales grew by 1.47% and pharmacy by 0.75% in this period. Hot beverage sales were helped by adverse weather conditions in Q2 and pharmacy sales were buoyed by strong flu-related sales.

Overall, year-on-year sales levels fell by an average of -4.27% during the second quarter of 2012. This continued the longstanding trend of falling sales in Irelands retail industry and saw Q2 2012 become the 13th consecutive quarter of consecutive sales decline.

April proved to be the most challenging month of the quarter, with sales falling by -6.87% year-on-year. Weather proved a huge problem for retailers in April 2012, with rainfall above average everywhere. The month of May saw an improvement, with Irish retailers reporting a decrease of only -1.27%. The quarter finished in June with a further dip in average sales levels for the industry of -3.71%, compared with June 2011.

Other poorly performing sectors in the second quarter included Jewellery and Gift & Homeware and Footwear.