Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall in Retail Sales halts for now

The release of the October Retail Sales Index by the CSO has been largely overshadowed the dramatic economic developments elsewhere.  The headline figures are positive with October retail sales up 0.5% by volume and 0.7% by value on September.  Annual sales by volume are up 2.0% and sales by value are down 0.1% reflecting the deflationary pressures that persist in the economy.

As is usual we will focus on the Retail Sales Index that excludes the motor trades.  In October the motor trades make up 18.2% of the index.   Here are the value and volume indices excluding the motor trades.

Ex Motor Trades Index to Oct

After recording monthly falls by value and volume, both indices were largely unchanged in September.  Here are the monthly changes since January 2009.

Monthly Change Ex Motor Trade Index to Oct

This moderated the annual decreases that have been recorded in retail sales for all months since July 2008 (bar April 2010 for the volume index).

Annual Change Ex Motor Trade Index to Oct

For the five-month period from December 2009 to April 2010 the retail sales index did exhibit some “turning the corner” momentum.  This has subsequently been reversed.  Between December 2009 and April 2010 both the volume and value indices excluding motor trades rose by about 3.5%. 

We are unlikely to see a similar upswing this year as reduced social welfare and increased taxes reduced household disposable incomes.  When we get the releases of the Retail Sales Index we will see an increase in the annual declines in the indices.

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