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Irish retail sales fall in June

Retail sales volumes in the Republic of Ireland dropped 5.2% in June compared with the same month last year, as the credit crunch took hold.

The value of sales in June, the most recent month with figures available, was 1.8% lower than last year, according to the Central Statistics Office Ireland. Non-food sales volumes fell 3.3% in Ireland, with the value of sales falling 1.8% in June.

At department stores, clothing and footwear sales by value were down 3% on the previous year and down 7.1% in volume. However, clothing and footwear specialists fared better, with sales volumes up 5.1% and a rise of 2.6% by value.

For the three months to May, sales volumes declined in all sectors of the retail market.

However, menswear business Geraghty’s in Galway said sales had taken a turn for the worse after April as the credit crunch hit trade.

“We’ve cut down our forward orders by 20%,” said owner Aidan Malone. “We noticed a slight downturn last September but through January, February and March things improved. Since then it’s been tough and without Race Week here in Galway, summer would have been a disaster. Formalwear is holding up better than casualwear.”

Louis Copeland, owner of four-store menswear independent Louis Copeland, said sales were down 15% in June and July. “It’s picked up a bit in August, but it will be tough going forward,” he said.

David Riddiford, chief executive of Dublin department store Arnotts, said: “It’s not been easy since the start of the year. Because the Irish market grew so much faster than the UK over the past 10 to 15 years, and construction makes up a higher proportion of GDP, when it slows it has a bigger impact than in the UK so Ireland is suffering more from the credit crunch.”

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