Positive November retail figures welcome

Thursday, 8 January 2015
Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, today welcomed new CSO retail sales figures for November, which showed the total value of retail sales rising by 2.2% when compared to November of last year. When sales of new cars and sales in bars are excluded, the value of sales rose by 1.2%, with the volume of sales up by 3.6%. The sector has now experienced a full year of monthly year-on-year increases in both the value and volume of Irish retail sales, however this increase is less significant when car sales are excluded.

Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke said: “Retail sales are steadily improving, but we are starting from a low base. Competition is intense and this is keeping prices low. Heavy discounting remains a prominent feature of the market, with the value of sales increasing by less than half that of the volume of sales. While the retail recovery still has a long way to go, consumer confidence is on the up. Hopefully the positive trend in retail sales can continue into 2015, with recent budget tax reductions taking effect this month.

"Certain categories of retail continue to perform strongly with both electrical stores and furniture and lighting stores showing strong performances in November, albeit from a low base. But not all retailers are benefitting from the positive trends, with specialist outlets such as butchers, bakeries and off licences seeing a combined fall of 1.9% in the value of their sales, while the pharmacy category recorded a drop of 0.8% in its sales values.

“Later this month we will receive confirmation of the performance of the retail sector over the crucial Christmas period. December is the single most important trading month for the sector and we are hopeful that our pre-Christmas forecast of an increase of 2% on Christmas 2013 can be achieved. These numbers will be crucial in determining the overall performance of the sector in 2014."