Retail sales in July up 6.4% compared to last year

Retail sales in July were 6.4 per cent higher than last year. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

The reopening of bars and pubs that serve food boosted retail sales in July, new figures show.

Retail sales were up 1.5 per cent compared to June and were 6.4 per cent higher than the previous year earlier, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The largest volume rise recorded in July was for bars, up 138.5 per cent compared to the last month, when the sector was shuttered. Other sectors to show big increases in sales were clothing, footwear and textiles, up 25.5 per cent, and electrical goods, which were 12.6 per cent higher.

Sales of fuel were up 10.3 per cent as more people took to their cars following the lifting of Covid-related restrictions.

When sales of cars are excluded, retail sales were up 2.8 per cent in July versus June, and 5.9 per cent higher than the same month in 2019.

However, the latest data also show that many sectors have yet to recover, with bars trading 55 per cent lower than in February and books, newspaper and stationery sales down 39.91 per cent.

Department stores-led sales were 17.1 per cent lower than before the crisis started while fuel was 7.2 per cent below the February level.