The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – for retailers!

Christmas shopping is already well underway, according to Kantar Worldpanel's latest figures
The Christmas shopping period has just about begun, and Ireland's grocery brands are in good shape for success

Retail Ireland's annual Christmas Retail Monitor has been published, showing further positive signs for the recovery of the sector and the economy as a whole



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7 December 2015

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Retail Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the retail sector, has published its annual Christmas Retail Monitor for 2015, which points to evidence that this year’s Christmas period will be the best for the sector since 2008. By tracking key trends in retail as well as the economy as a whole, the Retail Monitor gives an insight in to how those trends will affect future spending.

It states that this year , more money is likely to be spent in shops throughout December, representing an annual rise of just over 3.5% (€4,050m, up from €3,920m in December 2014). Households, meanwhile, will spend an average of €2,450 in December, approximately €600 more than any other month of the year.

Some of the key points in the Christmas Retail Monitor 2015:

  • Retail sales are on the up: The first ten months of the year showed an increase of 2.3% on the same period in 2014
  • Rising employment = more money to spend: Q3 2015 saw the employment market reach 1.98m, its highest level since early 2009. Retail Ireland suggests that an extra 59,000 people will be at work since last Christmas
  • Disposable income is growing, but remains behind 2008 levels: At the end of 2014, disposable income levels were still 10% below where they were in 2008. The gap has closed further since then, but not entirely. Take-home pay is expected to rise 1.5% in 2016, as per Budget 2016’s measures
  • Consumer sentiment has risen strongly: The first 10 months of 2015 saw consumer sentiment rise by 10%. This positive atmosphere is expected to translate into improved retail sales performance in the coming months.
  • A cheaper christmas for consumers: Intense and increasing competition in the sector is driving prices down. Inflation currently sits at -4%, with prices of goods expected to be at their lowest since December 2001. This downward trajectory for prices is expected to continue in the post-Christmas sales period.

According to Thomas Burke, Retail Ireland’s director, optimism is high among Irish retailers.  “The next few weeks are by far the most important trading period of the year,” he said, “and key indicators are pointing in the right direction. More people are at work, disposable income is rising and the Irish consumer is more positive about the future.

“The recovery is not evenly distributed across the retail industry,” he added. “Categories electronics, fashion, footwear and furniture are all outperforming the market. Growth in categories such as books, news and stationery and grocery remains weak.”

The weak growth in the grocery market is partially caused by the heavy discounting in action, Burke said. This is not a good situation for retailers, but great news for consumers as they hunt for Christmas bargains.



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