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Positive December figures but 2012 will be harsh for retail

Despite the value of retail sales (excluding motors) rising by 1% in December 2011, Retail Excellence Ireland has warned 2012 will prove tough for retailers

Feb 14 2012

CSO retail figures for December were up 1%

CSO retail figures for December were up 1%

The CSO issued retail sales figures for December 2011 showing that the value of retail sales (excluding the motor trade) increased by 1% in December 2011 compared to December 2010. This is the first time in over 45 months that like for like retail sales have increased. 
 
While welcoming encouraging retail figures for December from the CSO, Retail Excellence Ireland warned that 2012 would be another very challenging year for retailers.
 
David Fitzsimons, REI chief executive officer, said: “After suffering 45 consecutive months of retail sales decline, December’s like for like sales increase is undoubtedly welcome. However it must be remembered that retail sales in December 2010 were particularly weak as a result of the severe weather.
 
“2012 looks set to be as challenging as recent years have been for retailers. Consumer confidence remains at record lows. “If the government and local authorities are serious about protecting the remaining 250,000 retail jobs, they need to take meaningful action, starting with commercial rates. While some reductions have been passed on to retailers by local authorities, reductions of 1-2% are simply not good enough considering the massive increases in rates over the last decade and the 30% drop in retail sales over the same period.”
 
IBEC said that the latest retail sales figures show that government must focus on measures to stimulate growth in the domestic economy and support job creation. 
 
Commenting on the data, IBEC senior economist Reetta Suonperä said that consumer confidence will be the key driver of sales this year. “Given recent ECB interest rate cuts and the fact that the budget did not increase income taxes, a rebound in confidence could result in a brighter outlook for the retail sector." 

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