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For more information on this release:
E-mail: business_stats@cso.ie Stephanie Kelleher (+353) 21 453 5123
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-5295

This release has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect some of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 situation. For further information see Information note on the Implications of COVID-19 on the Retail Sales Index August 2021

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Retail Sales Index

August 2021 (Provisional) July 2021 (Final)

Seasonally Adjusted Retail Sales Index - All Businesses
 (Base Year 2015 = 100)
    Volume IndexValue Index
August 2019117.2108.8
August 2020127.0115.2
July 2021130.1120.7
August 2021134.6125.8
% change  
Monthly3.5%4.2%
Annual6.0%9.2%
August 2019 - August 202114.8%15.6%

Volume of Retail Sales up 3.5% in August 2021

Figure 1: Retail Sales Index - Seasonally Adjusted Volume
go to full release

Retail sales increased by 3.5% in August 2021 when compared to July 2021 on a seasonally adjusted basis. On an annual basis, retail volumes were 6.0% higher than in August 2020. Retail sales for August 2021 were 14.8% higher when compared to two years earlier (August 2019).

In August 2021, the largest monthly volume increases in sales were recorded in Books, Newspapers & Stationery (+48.7%), Bars (+31.9%), Department Stores (+20.2%) and Motor Trades (+7.7%). The sectors which experienced decreases in the month were Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) (-3.7%) and Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles (-2.3%). See Table 3.

The sectors with the highest annual volume increases were Department Stores (+23.8%), Bars (+21.0%), Clothing, Footwear & Textiles (+17.3%) and Motor Trades (+11.8%). The largest volume decreases were in Other Retail Sales (-7.1%), Hardware, Paints & Glass (-7.0%) and Furniture & Lighting (-3.0%). See Table 3.

Compared to August 2019 (two years earlier and pre-COVID-19), the volume of retail sales in August 2021 was 14.8% higher. Several sectors showed significant changes compared to their corresponding level of sales in August 2019. The highest increases were seen in Motor Trades (+26.9%), Electrical Goods (+23.6%), Department Stores (+19.2%), Hardware, Paints & Glass (+18.2%), Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles (+17.5%) and Furniture & Lighting (+17.1%). Two sectors had a volume of sales in August 2021 which decreased from August 2019 levels, Bars (-27.6%) and Books, Newspapers & Stationery (-13.4%). See Table 3a.

When Motor Trades are excluded, the volume of retail sales rose by 2.7% in August over the previous month and increased by 3.5% when compared to August 2020. See Table 2.

The proportion of retail sales transacted online (from Irish registered companies) was 4.9% in August 2021, similar to July 2021 (4.8%) and August of last year (4.5%). See Tables 6 & 7.

The value of retail sales was 4.2% higher in August 2021 than in July 2021. On an annual basis the value of retail sales was 9.2% higher than August 2020. Excluding Motor Trades, the value of retail sales increased by 3.2% in the month and increased by 4.6% on an annual basis. See Tables 1 & 2.

Unadjusted indices are available on CSO PxStat

Business SectorsAnnual change
All Businesses6
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades3.5
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars2.6
Motors & Fuel10.8
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars3.2
Food Businesses1.2
Non-Food (excl. Motor trades, Fuel & Bars)5.8
Household Equipment-5.8
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods-4.8
X-axis labelMonthly change
All Businesses3.5
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades2.7
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars2.5
Motors & Fuel6.8
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars2.3
Food Businesses-2.9
Non-Food (excl. Motor trades, Fuel & Bars)7.2
Household Equipment2
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods13.9
X-axis labelAugust 2020 - August 2021August 2019 - August 2021
All Businesses614.8
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades3.510.5
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars2.612.7
Motors & Fuel10.823.6
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars3.213.4
Food Businesses1.211.8
Non-Food (excl. Motor trades, Fuel & Bars)5.817.1
Household Equipment-5.818.6
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods-4.89.7
Table 1 Seasonally Adjusted Indices of Total Retail Sales1
        Base Year: 2015=100
  Total Retail Sales for all Businesses Combined
Period  Value of Sales Volume of Sales
   Index% change on previous periodAnnual % change Index% change on previous periodAnnual % change
2017Year 106.51.51.5 112.03.93.9
2018Year 109.42.72.7 116.23.83.8
2019Year110.51.01.0 118.62.12.1
2020Year105.1-4.9-4.9 115.9-2.3-2.3
         
20192nd quarter111.20.70.4 119.20.81.7
 3rd quarter108.5-2.5-1.2 117.2-1.70.2
 4th quarter 111.42.71.7 119.01.52.6
        
20201st quarter108.4-2.7-1.9 116.9-1.7-1.1
 2nd quarter 84.0-22.5-24.5 92.9-20.5-22.0
 3rd quarter 116.238.37.1 128.338.09.5
 4th quarter 110.6-4.8-0.7 122.9-4.23.3
         
20211st quarter 105.9-4.3-2.3 116.1-5.6-0.7
 2nd quarter 120.313.643.3 129.611.739.5
          
2019August 108.83.40.4 117.21.91.6
 September 111.32.31.8 119.31.72.9
 October 111.50.21.5 119.40.12.8
 November 110.6-0.80.4 118.3-0.91.4
 December 112.11.33.3 119.20.83.8
        
2020January 112.10.05.6 119.80.55.3
 February  112.30.2-0.4 121.51.41.2
 March 100.7-10.3-10.5 109.3-10.1-9.5
 April 61.9-38.5-44.9 68.5-37.3-43.3
May 80.329.7-27.6 88.929.7-25.0
 June 109.836.8-0.6 121.436.62.6
 July 112.22.26.6 124.52.68.3
August115.22.75.9 127.02.08.3
September121.15.18.8 133.45.011.8
 October 115.4-4.73.5 128.2-3.97.4
 November 101.1-12.4-8.6 112.8-12.0-4.6
 December 115.414.23.0 127.813.27.1
       
2021January 94.1-18.4-16.0 102.3-20.0-14.7
 February 110.217.1-1.9 122.720.00.9
 March 113.42.912.6 123.30.512.8
April117.03.289.0 125.61.983.3
May120.02.649.5 129.93.446.2
June 124.03.413.0 133.32.69.8
July120.7-2.77.6 130.1-2.44.5
August2125.84.29.2 134.63.56.0
1Based on Seasonal Patterns up to August 2021
2Provisional value and volume of sales indices based on early returns from sample retailers
Table 2 Seasonally Adjusted Indices of Total Retail Sales (Excluding Motor Trades)1
        Base Year: 2015=100
   Total Retail Sales for all Businesses Combined (Excl Motor Trades)
Period  Value of Sales Volume of Sales
   Index% change on previous periodAnnual % change Index% change on previous periodAnnual % change
2017Year 104.73.53.5 110.55.85.8
2018Year 107.22.42.4 114.63.73.7
2019Year 109.72.32.3 119.64.44.4
2020Year 105.9-3.5-3.5 120.30.60.6
          
20192nd quarter 110.41.12.7 120.01.54.1
3rd quarter 109.5-0.81.5 120.20.14.1
 4th quarter 109.50.01.3 119.6-0.53.4
        
20201st quarter 108.8-0.6-0.4 119.60.01.1
 2nd quarter 93.7-13.9-15.2 106.0-11.4-11.7
 3rd quarter 112.420.02.7 129.021.87.4
 4th quarter 107.9-4.1-1.5 125.0-3.24.5
          
20211st quarter 100.3-7.0-7.8 114.4-8.5-4.3
 2nd quarter 111.311.018.9 125.89.918.7
         
2019August 109.70.21.7 120.1-0.14.1
September 109.4-0.21.1 120.20.13.7
October 109.50.11.0 119.6-0.53.4
November 108.9-0.6-0.1 118.7-0.72.0
December 110.11.13.1 120.41.44.9
       
2020January 110.80.62.2 120.60.22.9
 February 109.5-1.1-0.4 120.0-0.50.8
 March 106.2-3.0-2.9 118.2-1.5-0.3
 April 81.5-23.2-26.4 90.6-23.4-24.7
 May 91.211.8-17.6 103.514.2-14.0
 June 108.318.8-1.3 123.819.63.6
 July 111.52.91.8 127.12.75.7
 August 112.30.72.4 128.20.96.8
 September 113.61.13.8 131.82.89.6
 October 113.4-0.13.6 131.1-0.59.6
November99.2-12.6-8.9 115.0-12.3-3.2
 December 111.112.00.9 128.912.17.0
       
2021January 95.2-14.3-14.0 108.6-15.7-10.0
 February 101.66.7-7.2 116.67.4-2.8
 March 104.12.5-2.0 118.01.3-0.1
April102.8-1.226.1 116.3-1.428.4
May110.37.221.0 125.47.821.2
June120.99.611.6 135.58.09.5
July113.9-5.82.1 129.2-4.71.6
August2117.53.24.6 132.72.73.5
1Based on Seasonal Patterns up to August 2021
2Provisional value and volume of sales indices based on early returns from sample retailers
Table 3 Seasonally Adjusted1 Value and Volume Indices of Retail Sales for 13 Retail Businesses2 - Provisional Results August 2021
   Base Year: 2015=100
 August 2021
Retail Business - NACE REV 2Value of Sales Volume of Sales
 IndexMonthly % changeAnnual % change IndexMonthly % changeAnnual % change
Motor Trades149.77.517.7 143.87.711.8
Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) 126.0-3.11.0 131.5-3.7-0.2
Department Stores 101.219.719.5 127.120.223.8
Food, Beverages & Tobacco114.40.01.8 128.90.32.3
Fuel112.82.717.8 102.12.06.8
Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles121.81.07.2 141.0-2.39.0
Clothing, Footwear & Textiles113.53.211.9 135.64.817.3
Furniture & Lighting142.3-0.5-2.2 183.10.8-3.0
Hardware, Paints & Glass145.61.3-4.9 158.80.1-7.0
Electrical Goods131.95.3-0.5 215.15.5-1.2
Books, Newspapers & Stationery93.335.44.1 87.248.71.9
Other Retail Sales105.04.20.6 126.05.3-7.1
Bars 78.823.522.6 73.231.921.0
All Businesses 125.84.29.2 134.63.56.0
    Combined Groups       
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades117.53.24.6 132.72.73.5
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars120.41.84.4 137.02.52.6
Motors & Fuel144.06.516.9 138.66.810.8
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars119.92.74.1 137.12.33.2
Food Businesses127.3-2.91.9 135.4-2.91.2
Non-Food excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars115.87.25.1 145.57.25.8
Household Equipment139.53.4-3.3 190.52.0-5.8
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods104.89.42.3 120.713.9-4.8
1Based on Seasonal Patterns up to August 2021, individual series are independently adjusted
2See Background Notes for further detail
Table 3a Percentage changes for Retail Sales for 13 Retail Businesses1, August 2019 - August 20212
   Base Year: 2015=100
Retail Business - NACE REV 2Value of Sales Volume of Sales
 August 2019 - August 2021 August 2020 - August 2021 August 2019 - August 2021 August 2020 - August 2021
 (2 years) (1 year) (2 years) (1 year)
 % % % %
Motor Trades35.8 17.7 26.9 11.8
Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) 9.7 1.0 9.5 -0.2
Department Stores 10.5 19.5 19.2 23.8
Food, Beverages & Tobacco12.0 1.8 14.4 2.3
Fuel7.3 17.8 0.4 6.8
Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles14.1 7.2 17.5 9.0
Clothing, Footwear & Textiles5.5 11.9 14.3 17.3
Furniture & Lighting12.8 -2.2 17.1 -3.0
Hardware, Paints & Glass18.7 -4.9 18.2 -7.0
Electrical Goods16.6 -0.5 23.6 -1.2
Books, Newspapers & Stationery-10.3 4.1 -13.4 1.9
Other Retail Sales5.0 0.6 12.2 -7.1
Bars -26.4 22.6 -27.6 21.0
All Businesses 15.6 9.2 14.8 6.0
    Combined Groups       
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades7.1 4.6 10.5 3.5
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars10.1 4.4 12.7 2.6
Motors & Fuel31.7 16.9 23.6 10.8
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars10.4 4.1 13.4 3.2
Food Businesses11.1 1.9 11.8 1.2
Non-Food excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars9.2 5.1 17.1 5.8
Household Equipment16.6 -3.3 18.6 -5.8
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods3.9 2.3 9.7 -4.8
1See Background Notes for further detail
2Based on Seasonal Patterns up to August 2021, individual series are independently adjusted. August 2021 applies to provisional data only
Table 4 Seasonally Adjusted1 Value and Volume Indices of Retail Sales for 13 Retail Businesses2 - Final Results July 2021
   Base Year: 2015=100
 July 2021
Retail Business - NACE REV 2Value of Sales Volume of Sales
 IndexMonthly % changeAnnual % change IndexMonthly % changeAnnual % change
Motor Trades139.3-3.69.0 133.5-5.04.1
Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) 130.01.04.6 136.60.43.8
Department Stores 84.5-18.712.0 105.7-16.617.5
Food, Beverages & Tobacco114.4-2.40.1 128.5-2.30.8
Fuel109.92.915.0 100.10.45.0
Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles120.7-8.07.9 144.2-3.913.2
Clothing, Footwear & Textiles110.0-5.31.6 129.4-4.98.1
Furniture & Lighting143.1-1.5-5.0 181.7-4.3-5.1
Hardware, Paints & Glass143.8-6.2-6.5 158.7-4.1-7.4
Electrical Goods125.26.2-7.7 203.95.9-7.4
Books, Newspapers & Stationery68.9-11.6-10.3 58.6-31.3-12.8
Other Retail Sales100.8-19.1-3.1 119.7-17.3-11.4
Bars 63.816.111.6 55.511.78.7
All Businesses 120.7-2.77.6 130.1-2.44.5
    Combined Groups       
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades113.9-5.82.1 129.2-4.71.6
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars118.3-3.53.4 133.7-5.60.9
Motors & Fuel135.2-2.215.0 129.8-3.87.1
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars116.8-5.22.6 134.0-4.52.0
Food Businesses131.14.84.5 139.54.73.8
Non-Food (excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars)108.0-12.7-0.7 135.7-11.4-0.2
Household Equipment134.9-2.2-5.7 186.7-1.4-5.8
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods95.9-21.3-5.3 106.0-23.4-15.4
1Based on Seasonal Patterns up to August 2021, individual series are independently adjusted
2See Background Notes for further detail
Table 5 Seasonally Adjusted1 Value and Volume Indices of Retail Sales for 13 Retail Businesses2 - 3 Monthly Provisional Estimates
 (Provisional Estimates)  Base Year: 2015=100
 June 2021 - August 2021
Retail Business - NACE REV 2Value of Sales Volume of Sales
 Index% change on previous periodAnnual % change Index% change on previous periodAnnual % change
Motor Trades144.511.515.8 139.410.410.7
Non-Specialised Stores (incl. supermarkets) 128.3-1.11.2 134.8-2.00.4
Department Stores 97.1104.924.5 120.4104.128.1
Food, Beverages & Tobacco115.5-1.82.5 129.8-2.23.3
Fuel109.610.220.6 100.66.710.0
Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles125.110.211.3 145.410.214.1
Clothing, Footwear & Textiles113.479.618.2 133.979.022.7
Furniture & Lighting143.719.9-0.1 185.219.9-0.5
Hardware, Paints & Glass148.0-7.5-4.3 161.3-7.4-5.7
Electrical Goods124.51.8-4.9 203.01.7-4.8
Books, Newspapers & Stationery79.953.97.5 77.752.58.4
Other Retail Sales111.26.55.2 131.35.2-3.7
Bars 65.0548.644.1 58.7530.141.5
All Businesses 123.56.010.1 132.75.36.9
    Combined Groups       
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades117.711.46.5 132.710.85.2
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades & Bars120.76.65.9 137.88.84.0
Motors & Fuel139.17.317.6 134.44.911.3
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars120.25.75.2 137.45.64.3
Food Businesses127.60.01.7 135.9-0.11.1
Non-Food (excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars)116.418.48.0 145.416.57.4
Household Equipment137.41.6-3.4 188.90.9-4.5
Books, Newspapers, Stationery & Other Goods108.68.05.6 122.90.7-3.7
1Based on Seasonal Patterns up to August 2021, individual series are independently adjusted
2See Background Notes for further detail
Table 6 Percentage of Turnover generated by Online Sales1 for Total Retail Sales
  Total Retail Sales for all Businesses Combined
Period  % sales online
2019Year 3.3
2020Year 7.0
    
20191st quarter2.9
 2nd quarter3.1
 3rd quarter3.3
 4th quarter3.8
    
20201st quarter3.7
 2nd quarter11.7
 3rd quarter4.5
 4th quarter8.1
    
20211st quarter 11.4
 2nd quarter 6.9
    
2019January 2.8
 February 3.0
 March 3.0
 April3.0
 May2.9
 June3.4
 July3.4
 August3.2
September3.2
October 3.4
November 4.0
December4.1
    
2020January3.2
 February 3.5
 March4.5
 April15.3
 May13.2
 June6.7
 July 4.6
 August 4.5
 September 4.5
 October 6.1
 November 12.4
 December 5.8
    
2021January 11.0
 February 11.8
 March 11.1
 April 10.1
 May 5.6
 June 4.9
 July 4.8
 August2 4.9
1Only enterprises registered in Ireland are included
2Provisional subject to revision
Table 7 Percentage of Turnover generated by Online Sales for 13 Retail Businesses1 - Provisional Results August 20212
 August 2020 July 2021 August 2021
Retail Business - NACE REV 2% Sales Online % Sales Online % Sales Online
Motor Trades2.2 3.0 3.2
Non-Specialised Stores (incl. Supermarkets) 2.1 2.3 2.4
Department Stores 7.0 7.8 7.6
Food, Beverages & Tobacco3.7 3.3 3.3
Fuel* * *
Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles* * *
Clothing, Footwear & Textiles7.7 8.3 9.2
Furniture & Lighting *  * *
Hardware, Paints & Glass* * *
Electrical Goods14.7 14.4 14.1
Books, Newspapers & Stationery* * *
Other Retail Sales7.4 4.3 2.9
Online or Mail Order87.4 82.6 86.1
Bars * * *
All Businesses 4.5 4.8 4.9
    Combined Groups     
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades5.5 5.6 5.6
All Businesses excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars6.2 6.2 6.3
Food Businesses2.2 2.4 2.5
Non-Food (excl. Motor Trades, Fuel & Bars)9.4 9.3 9.3
Household Equipment9.3 8.3 8.3
Books, Newspapers, Stationery, Other Goods and Online18.2 15.5 15.0
1See Background Notes for further detail
2Provisional based on early returns from sample retailers
*Confidential

Background Notes

Retail Sales Index

An updated Retail Sales Index (RSI) has been introduced in the January 2018 release. The underlying methodology remains unchanged. The index is primarily intended to measure short-term trends.  For long term analysis, allowance must be made for the fact that the series does not reflect changes in retail structures between updates.

Reference Period

The July period covers the 4 weeks from 04/07/21 to 31/07/21 and the August period covers the 4 weeks from 01/08/21 to 28/08/21.

Base Year

This set of monthly retail sales indices has been compiled with reference to base year 2015=100. The underlying structural weighting system is mainly based on the 2015 Annual Services Inquiry. Weights are updated from year to year using ratios of average weekly turnover by size class within business type.

Scope and Coverage

The Retail Sales Index covers, on a matched sample basis, the retail sales of retail businesses, wholesale businesses with sizeable retailing activity, and the separate sales establishments of non-distribution enterprises. Excluded from the index coverage are the direct retail sales from non-distribution establishments together with the incidental retail sales of wholesale businesses. Also excluded are sales by hawkers, street stalls, and other retailing activities not conducted from permanent business premises. The RSI does include internet/online sales of enterprises which have a presence in Ireland, but these sales are included under the primary activity of the enterprise, e.g. online grocery sales are included in Non-Specialised Stores. The statistical unit used for reporting sales figures in this inquiry is the enterprise (i.e. complete business covering all branches).  Online retailers not registered in Ireland but selling to Irish Residents are not within the scope of the Irish RSI. 

Methodology

The business categories are based mainly on the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE Rev. 2). The index system is structured on the retailing enterprises covered in the 2015 Annual Services Inquiry classified by 13 retail business categories and four turnover (excluding VAT) ranges. The following NACE Rev.2 categories apply:

  • Motor Trades - Sale, maintenance and repair of new and second-hand vehicles and motorcycles (NACE 45)
  • Non-Specialised Stores - Retail sale in non-specialised stores with food, beverages or tobacco predominating - mainly supermarkets (NACE 47.11)
  • Department Stores -  Retail sale of a large variety of goods of which food products, beverages or tobacco are not predominant activities of the department stores. Retail sale of a general line of merchandise, including wearing apparel, furniture, appliances, hardware, cosmetics, jewellery, toys, sports goods, etc. (NACE 47.19)
  • Food, Beverages & Tobacco -  Retail sale of fruit and vegetables, meat and meat products, fish, crustaceans and molluscs, bread, cakes, flour and sugar confectionery, and beverages in specialised stores (NACE 47.2)
  • Fuel - Retail sale of fuel and lubricating products and cooling products for motor vehicles and motorcycles. Excludes wholesale of fuels (NACE 47.3)
  • Pharmaceuticals, Medical & Cosmetic Articles - Retail sale of pharmaceuticals, medical and orthopaedic goods, cosmetic and toilet articles in specialised stores (NACE 47.73 - 75)
  • Clothing, Footwear & Textiles – Retail sale of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods in specialised stores (NACE 47.51, 47.71 – 72)
  • Furniture & Lighting - Retail sale of furniture, lighting equipment and other household articles in specialised stores (NACE 47.59)
  • Hardware, Paints & Glass - Retail sale of hardware, paints and glass in specialised stores (NACE 47.52)
  • Electrical Goods – Retail sale of information and communication equipment, computers, peripheral units and software, telecommunications equipment, audio and video equipment and electrical household appliances in specialised stores (NACE 47.41-43, 47.54)
  • Books, Newspapers & Stationery – Retail sale of books excluding second-hand or antique books, retail sale of office supplies such as pens, pencils, paper, etc. (NACE 47.61 -.62)
  • Other Retail Sales – Retail sale of carpets, rugs, wall and floor coverings, music and video recordings, games and toys, flowers, plants, seeds, fertilisers, pet animals and pet food, jewellery, photographic, optical, souvenirs, household fuels and other new goods in specialised stores. The retail sale activities via mail order or via Internet (NACE 47.53, 47.63-65, 47.76-8, 47.91)
  • Bars – Preparation and serving of beverages for immediate consumption on the premises (NACE 56.3)

 For a full NACE Rev2 breakdown of the above categories see attached link to the Retail Sales Index Methodological Documents.

The value indices are calculated by updating the aggregate 2015 retail turnover (including VAT) of these enterprises in these cells using the monthly retail sales data provided by the enterprise respondent panel from 2015 onwards.

The compilation of the index for a current month is based on the percentage change in average weekly sales in these cells over the corresponding monthly period of the previous year. The monthly volume indices are calculated by deflating the seasonally unadjusted value indices by specially constructed retail price indices derived from the Consumer Price Index (CPI). A copy of the Retail Sales Index methodology is available on our website (www.cso.ie).

Seasonal Adjustment

All Retail Sales “unadjusted” series are trading day adjusted as they are based on either a standardised four or five-week reporting period (see reference period note above). Seasonal adjustment is conducted using the direct seasonal adjustment approach. Under this approach each individual series is independently adjusted, e.g. aggregate series are adjusted without reference to the component series. A consequence of the direct seasonal adjustment is that there can be a loss of additivity in the series. Each individual seasonally adjusted series is calculated based on unadjusted data spanning from January 2010 to the current period.

The adjustments are completed by applying the X-13-ARIMA model, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau, to the unadjusted data. For additional information on the use of X-13ARIMA-SEATS see (Findley, D.F., B.C. Monsell, W.R. Bell, M.C. Otto, and B. Chen (1998), “New Capabilities and Methods of the X-12-Arima Seasonal Adjustment Program”, Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 16, pp. 127-177.) and http://www.census.gov/srd/www/x13as/.

This methodology estimates seasonal factors while also taking into consideration factors that impact on the quality of the seasonal adjustment, such as:

  • Calendar effects e.g. the timing of Easter
  • The phase shift effect i.e. the fact the reporting period of the RSI does not coincide with the calendar month
  • Outliers, temporary changes, and level shifts in the series
  • Seasonal breaks e.g. the introduction of the new number plate system in the Motor Trade sector which occurred in July 2013.  
Note: The Motor Trade group comprises all retail motor trade activities, of which new car sales accounts for approximately 70% of turnover.
 
COVID-19 note
Seasonally adjusting the Retail Sales Index will be challenging until the scale and shape of the impact of COVID-19 on the time series is better understood.  Each month the outliers are reviewed and updated as required. Users should be aware that further observations, as data becomes available in the months ahead, and revisions to the seasonal adjustment models may result in revisions to the seasonal adjusted series.
 
 Rebase 2015

The rebasing of the series is in line with EU recommendations to update the base reference periods at regular five-year intervals. This new series replaces the existing series to base year 2010 as 100.

The difference in the new rebased RSI series is the use of new cell and sector baseweights taken from the ASI 2015. The existing cell structure/breakdown was maintained in this series.

The new baseweights are updated each month using changes to respondents’ monthly turnover. The rebase also includes the reclassification of enterprises based on their current product profile.

Detail of the methodology used in the RSI are available on  Methodological Documents page.

 Online Sales 

The collection of data for online turnover began in November 2018. Enterprises in the sample provide the value of their online turnover for the reporting period. As for all of the survey only Enterprises registered in Ireland are included. From the Annual Services Inquiry (2017) the Online and Mail Order Sector (G4791) registered in Ireland is estimated at 1.0% of all Retail Businesses. A fixed base weight is used from the Annual Services Inquiry (2017).

 Reference 

A detailed description of the Retail Sales Index is available on the Retail Sales Index page.  Retrospective details for the current and previous series are also available on the CSO website.

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