Wednesday, July 31, 2013

31/7/2013: Retail Sales Dynamics: June 2013

Retail sales stats are out for June and anticipation (based on the booming Consumer Confidence index from ESRI) was for a significant uplift in sales. Alas, things turned out to be not what some expected. All data seasonally-adjusted.

  • Value of core (ex-motors) sales fell 0.73% m/m in June and was up 1.28% y/y. 
  • 3mo average through June 2013 stood at 95.1 down on 3mo average through March 2013 at 96.0.
  • 6mo average through June was at 95.5, down on 96.8 6mo average through December 2012.
  • Value of core sales in June 2013 was 5.75% below the average for the entire crisis period
  • Volume of core (ex-motors) sales fell 0.50% m/m in June and was up 1.21% y/y.
  • 3mo average through June 2013 stood at 99.2 down on 3mo average through March 2013 at 99.5, although the difference was minute.
  • 6mo average through June was at 99.4, down on 100.4 6mo average through December 2012.
  • Volume of core sales in June 2013 was 3.74% below the average for the entire crisis period.
Meanwhile, Consumer Confidence shot up 15.4% in June m/m and is up 13.3% y/y. 3mo average from consumer confidence is at 63.6 which is above 3mo average through March 2013 at 61.2. 6mo average is practically identical to 6mo average through December 2012.



Charts above show clear disconnect between retail sales (volume and value) and the reported consumer confidence index. The disconnect is bizarre. Firstly, neither current, nor lagged average consumer confidence has much to do with either volume or value of what consumers opt to purchase. Worse, since June 2008 through June 2013, Irish retail sales indices correlations with Consumer Confidence are -0.66 for value index and -0.60 for volume index. In other words, rising Consumer Confidence in Ireland tends to be associated with falling retail sales. It is worth noting that prior to the crisis - in January 2005 - December 2007 period, the above correlations were +0.72 and +0.74 respectively.

My own Retail Sector Activity Index has had a better fortune tracking overall activity in the retail sector:

 The above clearly shows the sustained 'flat at the bottom' period of retail sales overall activity (by weighted contributions of volume, value and forward confidence). The recent rise in the activity, driven so far solely by two factors: year-on-year dynamics still impacted by the losses made in May-June 2012  and by the bizarre rise in consumer confidence. It remains to be seen if the index can hold near a 14 months period high attained in June.

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