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Retail bounced back in June as shoppers rushed out after lockdown

Customers rushing back into shops as the lockdown eased in June lifted the value of retail sales back to pre-Covid 19 levels.

Retail sales rose by a record 38.4pc in June compared to May, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO). More strikingly, on an annual basis retail volumes were 3.5pc higher in June 2020, compared to the same month last year – suggesting a so-called ‘V-shaped’ recovery where the pace of the economic crash as a result of the pandemic is followed by an equally swift recovery.

June 2020 was unique, however, because pent-up consumer demand was unleashed as ‘Phase Two’ of the Government’s Covid strategy began on June 8 with the reopening of many retail outlets for the first time in months.

As shoppers ventured back out of their homes, sales of furniture and lighting saw a huge 296.8pc increase in sales. Clothing, footwear and textiles rocketed by 284.2pc and books, newspapers and stationery rose by 252pc.

Of the main retail segments only car sales were down on June 2019.

The CSO said June saw the biggest monthly increase on Irish record, following a 32.5pc increase in May, even with many shops still closed and limited capacity in others.

Central Bank figures earlier this month had pointed the way to a potential recovery in consumer demand – with household savings deposits of €10.5bn in May far exceeding withdrawals, and much of that cash sitting in current accounts.

The Government’s July Stimulus is aimed in large part of coaxing those savers to continue to spend into the autumn and winter, including on holidays at home and entertainment.

June and the earlier May pick-up in sales followed a huge drop of 12.4pc in March and 35.8pc in April.

However, some sections have still not recovered. When compared with June 2019, bars have seen trade decrease by a huge 81.1pc, books, newspapers and stationery fell by 39.6pc, fuel by 8pc, department stores by 16.4pc, and clothing, footwear and textiles were down by 16.2pc.

June witnessed what the CSO termed an “extraordinary collapse in overseas travel to and from Ireland as the effects of the Covid-19 crisis continued”.

There were just 57,100 arrivals into the country in June and 73,900 departures according to CSO data.

In June 2019 two million people would have travelled into and out of Ireland, by comparison.

This has led to a 97.1pc drop in arrivals and 96.4pc fall in departures.

Of the 57,100 arriving into Ireland, 40,200 (70.4pc) arrived by air and 16,900 (29.6pc) travelled by sea.

Analysis of the June arrivals shows 32,300 (56.5pc) travelled via cross-channel routes, 18,300 (32.1pc) by continental routes, 3,800 (6.6pc) by transatlantic routes and 2,700 (4.8pc) by other routes.

32,300 people travelled from Britain to Ireland, 4,400 came from the Netherlands, and 3,900 from Germany.

For the year to date, 3,186,700 people arrived in Ireland and 3,173,300 left. Those figures represent drops of 65.9pc and 66.6pc respectively when compared to the year prior.

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