New CSO figures encouraging for retail trade
Positive CEO figures have been cited for the first quarter of the year and predictions are also good for the second quarter
12 May 2010
Statistics published by the Central Statistics Office have been described as ‘encouraging’ by Billy Kelleher, Minister for Trade and Commerce.
According to the figures the volume of sales in March was up 3.6% compared with the same month last year while the February figures showed the first annual increase in sales for more than two years.
The Minister described new merchandise trade figures showing that our exports are remaining stable while the value of imports has increased.
Minister Kelleher said: “The figures are encouraging and build on the strengthening performance of our exports since last December. Since then, there has been a steady increase in our exports, rising by 16% from just over E6 billion to E699 billion. Our imports during that time also rose, reflecting increased activity in the economy. Our trade surplus for the first two months of this year was almost €7 billion.”
Commenting on the CSO data, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), David Fitzsimons said that the figures, indicating a slow down in the rate of decline, is very welcome news for his members and points to a more positive outlook for Irish retailing in 2010.
“While the industry is still officially in a state of distressed trading, we are edging closer to a position of like-for-like growth which we hope to report in the second half of this year, ”said Fitzsimons.
These figures are said to provide a strong indication that like-for-like growth is likely to be reported in quarter two.
REI recently published its own retail sales figures for quarter one 2010, mirrored by those of the CSO, but also revealing some additional insights with regards to rent and pricing.
“Our quarter one retail sales research revealed that rent cost as a percentage of sales actually increased compared to this time last year. While the average figure for rent as a percentage of sales is 13%, some stores, particularly in shopping centre locations, are spending up to 20% as a percentage of sales. This is an incredible finding given that sales decline has actually eased and proves that landlords have not in fact been forthcoming with rent reductions despite claims to the contrary.”