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Press Statement


28 May 2021

Retail Sales Index April 2021 (Provisional) March 2021 (Final)

Volume of Retail Sales increased by 7.4% in April 2021 compared to March 2021
  • Highest annual increase ever recorded in April 2021 (+90.1%) following largest decline on record in April 2020 (-43.7%)
  • Retail Sales for April 2021 were 7.1% higher than April 2019
  • Furniture & Lighting has increased sevenfold and Motor Trades sixfold on an annual basis from last year's very low base
  • The Food Business sector, which remained open throughout the pandemic, grew by a more modest 3.1%
  • All Retail Sales excluding Motor Trades decreased by 4.1% on the month and increased by 27.6% annually

Go to release: Retail Sales Index April 2021

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (28 May 2021) released the Retail Sales Index April 2021 (Provisional) March 2021 (Final).

Commenting on the release, Stephanie Kelleher, Statistician, said:"Retail sales in April 2021 increased by 7.4% on the month and by 90.1% on the year. This annual increase is the highest on record, but caution should be exercised when interpreting the annual change as the comparison is with an historically low base. Comparing April 2021 with the same period two years ago (April 2019) shows the volume of Retail Sales increased by 7.1%."

Providing further analysis of the figures, Stephanie Kelleher said:"In April 2021, the list of essential retail allowed to remain open was broader than was the case in April 2020 during the first lockdown. By the third lockdown, consumers and retailers had become more accustomed to the restricted market conditions. The sectors with the highest annual increases were Furniture & Lighting (+694%), Motor Trades (+576%) and Hardware, Paints & Glass (+166%). While these annual increases look impressive, they simply reflect a recovery from the lows of last year. The Food Business Sector remained open throughout and their annual increase was more modest Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) (+3.2%) and Food, Beverages & Tobacco (Specialised Stores) (+9.7%).

When Motor Trades are excluded, the figures are not as dramatic, decreasing 4.1% monthly and increasing 27.6% annually.

To help our users interpret the annual increases, we have added a new table and graph to the release, Table 3a and Figure 3a. These compare the annual percentage change and the percentage change between April 2021 and April 2019. A number of sectors in April 2021 were below their level of sales in April 2019. These included Bars (-88.8%), Department Stores (-73.4%), Clothing, Footwear & Textiles (-68.2%), Books, Newspapers & Stationery (-50.7%) and Fuel (-11.1%). All other sectors had a volume of sales in April 2021 which exceeded the level of April 2019, the highest increases were seen in Hardware, Paints & Glass (+34.1%), Motor Trades (+28.2%) and Food, Beverages & Tobacco (Specialised Stores) (+26.7%)."

For further information contact:

Stephanie Kelleher (+353) 21 453 5123

or email

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