Retail sales still robust despite marginal fall-off in August

Overall sales remained relatively robust in August despite the current inflationary squeeze, latest figures show

Retail sales remained relatively robust in August despite the current inflationary squeeze as consumers spent more on pharmaceuticals, in department stores and on clothing and footwear.

The latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows the volume of sales across the sector fell marginally by 0.1 per cent last month but was up by 3.6 per cent year on year.

However, when volatile sales of cars are excluded, the volume of sales on a monthly basis rose by 2.3 per cent and was up by 1 per cent in the year compared with August 2022.

The CSO noted the largest monthly volume increases were in pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic articles, department stores, clothing, footwear and textiles, and fuel.


Monthly volume decreases were recorded in so-called other retail sales, motor trades, furniture and lighting, and books, newspapers and stationery, however.

Retail sales have defied predictions to remain relatively strong despite the elevated levels of inflation and 10 consecutive interest rate rises from the European Central Bank.

On an annual basis, motor trades were up 10.9 per cent while pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic article sales increased by 7.6 per cent.

The largest annual volume decline was seen in bars, where sales fell by 6.7 per cent. Sales across food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores fell 6.2 per cent.

The latest figures also show the proportion of sales transacted online from Irish-registered companies was 4.4 per cent in August, compared with 4.8 per cent in July and 4.8 per cent in August 2022.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times