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Annual retail sales up 8% despite coronavirus restrictions

Figures show sales of household equipment, books, stationery and ‘other goods’ all increased by more than 30% year-on-year.

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All non-essential retailers were forced to shut for a six-week period from October 22 (PA)

All non-essential retailers were forced to shut for a six-week period from October 22 (PA)

All non-essential retailers were forced to shut for a six-week period from October 22 (PA)

Retail sales have increased by 8% annually despite Covid-19 restrictions, new figures show.

Data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows retail sales fell by 0.7% last month compared to September, but on an annual basis they had increased.

All non-essential retailers were forced to shut for a six-week period from October 22 and restaurants are limited to takeaway service only.

But sales of household equipment, books, stationery and “other goods” all increased by more than 30% year-on-year.

The CSO found retail sales in October were 10.6% higher than in February prior to the onset of the pandemic. However, not all sectors have fully recovered.

Bar sales are 75% lower than in February, while fuel sales are 20% down and sales of books, newspapers and stationery are almost 10% lower.

Sales of clothing, footwear and textiles are 4% lower.

The research also shows the proportion of retail sales transacted online – from Irish-registered companies – increased to 6% last month, up from 4.5% in September.

This figure remains below the high of 15% recorded in April at the height of the first lockdown.

The CSO noted that when motor sales are excluded, retail sales fell 0.2% in October compared to the previous month and increased by 9% when compared with the same period of last year.

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