Ibec: Healthy November suggests shift in Christmas shopping trends

Retailers are gearing up for the Christmas shopping rush
Retailers are gearing up for the Christmas shopping rush

Retail Ireland has suggested that the latest CSO retail sales figures for November highlight a shift in consumer spending patterns for the Christmas season

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6 January 2017 | 0

Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, has suggested that CSO retail sales figures for November highlight a shift in pre-Christmas consumer spending patterns. Heavy promotional activity around the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” periods have persuaded consumers to make their Christmas purchases earlier in the festive shopping season.

The figures showed the total value of retail sales (excluding sales of cars and sales in bars) rising by 1.9% when compared to November of 2015, with the volume of sales up by 5.1% over the same period.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said: “While encouraging, the growth in retail sales in November is further evidence of the increasing importance of the early festive shopping period to Irish retailers,” said Thomas Burke, Retail Ireland director. “Traditionally, the Christmas shopping season would have begun in earnest in early December, however an increasing proportion of Irish consumers now make a significant number of their Christmas purchases in November in order to take advantage of the deep discounts available through promotional activity around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“What is also evident from today’s numbers is the depth of discounting in the market at present. This will inevitably put pressure on retailer’s margins at year end,” Burke continued.

“Later this month we will receive confirmation of the performance of the retail sector over the crucial Christmas period. Despite the shift in spending patterns in recent years, December remains the single most important trading month for the sector and it remains to be seen if the sector can realise pre-Christmas forecasts of a 3% growth in sales when compared to Christmas 2015.

“These numbers will be crucial in determining the overall performance of the sector in 2016.”

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