The volume of retail sales decreased 1.5% in April 2012 when compared with the previous month, Central Statistics Office figures showed today. This equates to an annual decrease of 2.7%.
Chambers Ireland has blamed last’s month’s decline in retail sales on the negative effects of the rise in VAT in Budget 2012.
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, reacting to the latest annual reduction of 2.7% in Retail Sales figures issued by the CSO today, has demanded that the Government immediately tackle the high cost base under their influence. The Association outlined that retailers were being ‘wiped out’ the length and breadth of the country, due to a deteriorating domestic economy, driven by consumer uncertainty and ever increasing costs. Unless these key issues are addressed, shops will continue to close, jobs will be lost and a key sector supporting local economies will continue to disintegrate.
According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, “Today’s shocking retail sales figures confirm that when it comes to spending money in the shops, consumers are still cutting back. Overall, retail sales are down by 30% compared with the boom era. This is costing jobs and leading to shop closures. Consumer sentiment is weak and the outlook continues to remain uncertain. The high cost of rents, rates, tax and labour are causing retailers real difficulties and depressing consumer demand.”
“Retail is on the front line and the first to feel the downdraft of the recession. It is high time that the Government introduced policies to support one of the most significant contributors to the economy. We need the immediate formation of a Retail Strategy Group to address the risks to the sector and the Government to implement immediate policies to tackle the cost base, in order to secure the 250,000 jobs in the Retail industry,” concluded Fielding.
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