Ibec: Late Easter contributes to uneven figures
Retail Ireland has welcomed the continued growth in retail sales as evidenced by April's sales figures, but warned that the uneven nature of the performance reflected an uncertain future outlook amongst Irish consumers
29 May 2017
The Central Statistics Office has released nationwide sales figures for the month of April. The numbers evidence an overall growth in sales. Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, has welcomed this growth, but highlighted that the uneven nature of the performance across the retail categories reflected an uncertain future outlook among Irish consumers.
Sales benefited from a later-than-normal Easter period, with retail sales values, excluding bars and car sales, increasing by 3.3% on the same period in 2016. The results build on value growth of over 3% in the first four months of 2017. There was also strong volume growth across the retail sector in April, with sales volumes increasing 6.5% when compared to 2016.
“The first four months of 2017 has seen strong growth in certain retail categories,” says Retail Ireland’s director Thomas Burke. “This is reflected in the headline numbers. However, that positive performance is by no means consistent across all retail categories. Some retailers report a significant decline in trade in recent months. Strong growth in some categories is in fact masking anemic growth, and in some cases decline, in key retail categories and certain retailers are becoming increasingly anxious about weak trade levels.
“While at a macro level sales trends remain positive,” Burke continues, “but retail sales at a category level have become increasingly erratic in recent months making forecasting and business planning a difficult proposition for retailers. Peaks and troughs in trading, above and beyond the usual seasonal variation, reflect the uncertain nature of Irish consumers at present. With ongoing uncertainty over the impact of global geopolitical events such as Brexit and changed US foreign policy, along with fluctuating currency markets, retailers will likely have to continue to operate in an uncertain environment over the coming months.”