Retail in Ireland is amongst the worst hit in Europe

Ciara Daly and Charleen Scott getting their Pamala Scott ladies fashion shop ready for opening next Monday at Midleton, Co. Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Ireland saw one of the largest drops in retail activity in Europe in April.

Figures released by the EU's statistical office Eurostat shows the volume of retail trade in April fell by 11.1% compared to March and by 18% compared to April of last year.

However, amongst member states, the largest decreases in retail were registered in Malta (-25.1%), Romania (-22.3%) and Ireland (-21.9%). In March, the retail trade volume decreased by 11.1% in the euro area and by 10.1% in the EU.

According to Eurostat, automotive fuels registered the biggest decline in April with a 27.7% drop with millions of motorists across Europe confined to their homes. The volume of non-food products fell by 17% and by 5.5% for food, drinks and tobacco. 

However, the volume of retail trade by mail order and internet rose by 10.9% in the euro area and by 11.9% in the EU.

Many retailers in Ireland are now preparing for Monday and Phase Two of the Government's roadmap for the reopening of the economy.

On that day, small retail outlets with small numbers of staff will be allowed open on the basis that the retailer can control the number of individuals that staff and customers interact with at any given time.

Business groups like Retail Excellence has called on the government to provide rent grants, 0% loans and waivers for commercial rates to help the retail sector receiver from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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