Retail Ireland: Confidence high ahead of Christmas trading period

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

Retail Ireland has published its latest Retail Monitor, which shows that retail sales have grown by 4.1% in Q3 this year, an encouraging year-on-year increase as the crucial Christmas season gets into gear.

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9 November 2017 | 0

Retail Ireland, in its latest Retail Monitor research, has revealed that sales values have grown by 4.1% year-on-year in Q3, with most retail categories predicting growth during the crucial Q4 Christmas period.

In the supermarket and convenience store segment, the Consumer Price Index continues to show food and take-home alcohol deflation; the growth in the sector therefore suggests that shoppers are trading up rather than availing of savings, the report says.

Total sales in department stores grew by 2.6%, while total sales volumes increased by 7.4% compared to the same quarter in 2016. However, sales of newspapers and magazines have continued to decline as consumers continue to migrate to online (ie free) news.

“2017 has so far proven to be a relatively strong year for the Irish retail sector,” Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said of the research results. “Sales values grew across almost all retail categories in the third quarter of this year, with full-year increases also recorded.

“However,” he added, “the benefit of these growing sales is largely being eroded by an increase to rent in many prime retail locations, rising labour costs and increasing utility costs. Increases in the National Minimum Wage of over 7% since January 2015, and the recent Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy increase show Government is significantly driving these input costs upwards.

“For some in the sector there is a palpable sense of running to stand still,” Burke said.

“However, retailers are now looking forward to a busy Christmas period and have a legitimate expectation of an improved performance on last year, as pay increases and tax cuts help boost the consumer mood and increase spending power. The coming eight-week period will make or break the year for many retailers, with some doing over 30% of their annual trade in this period. Retailers are hopeful that this positive momentum can be carried into the crucial end of year trading period.”

 

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