New figures from the Central Statistics Office indicate that retail sales grew by 0.6% in December 2013. Setting car sales aside, retail sales rose 1.3% in December compared to November and increased by 3% on an annual basis.
Meanwhile, the volume of retail sales rose by 3% on an annual basis in December.
Books, newspapers and stationery generated a 4.2% surge in sales, while pharmaceuticals, medical and cosmetic goods saw sales rise by 3.8%. The largest monthly decreases in sales were shown to be in clothing, footwear and textiles, which saw sales decline 1.1%, while fuel saw a 0.1% drop.
Mark Fielding, CEO of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), told the Irish Times that he viewed the figures as "disappointing",and that high costs were continuing to "crucify" small retailers. He said that shoppers were still cautious over spending throughout Christmas, and that while 58,000 new jobs have been created, the money earned from these jobs is being used to pay off debt and taxes, new and existing, and not being spent in the shops.
Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam told RTE that the increase in sales in supermarkets, fuel stations and clothes stores shown in the CSO data was 'welcome', although expressed concern that the numbers do not properly represent online sales, which are growing all the time and present a real threat to high street retailers. He said, "It is vital that steps are taken to ensure the online spend of Irish consumers is properly recorded, so that retailers here can plan for the future."
Retail ireland recently launched a stragegic plan for retailers to boost their sales, create new jobs and seek government support for the industry. In addition, the plan encourages retailers to create or improve their website and build a presence online.
© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson