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Car sales slump drives Ireland’s retail activity 4.3pc lower in July

Car sales slump drives Ireland’s retail activity 4.3pc lower in July
An unseasonal slump in new car purchases drove Ireland’s retail sales sharply lower last month, the Central Statistics Office reported on Wednesday.

Sales declined by 4.3pc in both value and volume terms versus June levels, chiefly because many Irish car hunters are opting to buy cheap used UK imports on the back of the British pound’s Brexit-fuelled weakness.

Irish car dealers recorded a 13pc sales slump by volume in July, despite the arrival of 192 plates, which normally would be expected to spur increased sales of new vehicles.

Pubs and bars also experienced a 6.4pc drop-off in the volume and value of beverage sales.

However, excluding the exceptionally weak performance of the motor trade, Irish retail sales overall grew last month, rising 1.9pc in volume and 1.3pc in value versus June.

Supermarkets and other non-specialised stories led the growth table, with sales up by 5.7pc in volume and 5.4pc in value. Department stores recorded more muted gains of 1.9pc and 1.2pc, respectively.

Sales of pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetic articles were 4.7pc higher by volume and 4pc by value, while sales of hardware, paint and glass rose by 2.5pc and 3.5pc, respectively.

The volume of sales in Ireland is 4.4pc lower than a year ago, again chiefly because of the decline of new car sales. Excluding the motor trade, retail sales have risen by 4.2pc over the past 12 months.

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