23/01/2009

Retail Sales Crash To Over 20 Year Low

Figures released by the Irish national bank have revealed Ireland's retail sales figures are at their lowest since 1984.

The National Irish Bank figures show retail sales volumes were 8.1 per cent lower in November compared with the same month of last year as consumers sharply curbed their spending.

Dr Ronnie O'Toole, chief economist with the Bank, said the current rate of decline in retail sales was the fastest in the last quarter of a century.

"2009 promises to be a very difficult year for retailers, given the scale of the slowdown in spending. While retail sales are falling in most European countries, the rate of decline in Ireland is relatively fast, along with Spain, Estonia and Latvia," he said.

One of Ireland's largest supermarket chains, Superquinn, announced this week it was forced to lay off 300 workers due to the fall in retail sales it attributed to the number of Irish shoppers visiting the North for their groceries.

However, controversially, Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has criticised what he called the nonsensical debate about cross border shopping.

Mr McGuiness criticised the Lord Mayor of Dublin's comments that it was unpatriotic to go shopping in across the border in Newry. The Deputy First Minister said that like racism and sectarianism, "partitionism" is one of the evils in our society.

(DW/JM)

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