Retail Excellence Ireland has suggested that the latest retail sales data from the Central Statistics Office (CS0) for the last month shows that talk of universal recovery in retail is premature.
The group also noted the only marginal increase in sales was by value on an annualised basis.
Deputy Chief Executive of Retail Excellence Ireland Sean Murphy said, "Retail sales data from the CSO shows a marginal increase in retail sales, reflecting flatness in consumer spending since January.
“Annualised growth of retail sales volume, excluding motor trades, was 4.8%, while annualized value increased by only 0.7%. This continues to reflect discounting by retailers to attract spend. It also shows why retailers are extremely nervous about any talk of Government mandated wage increases in the absence of a broad-based recovery in the domestic economy.”
Murphy concluded, “As long as the data remains flat, we cannot afford to be complacent. The domestic economy is growing, but only after an unprecedented collapse. Retail is still dealing with one of the highest VAT rates in the world at 23%. This is again inhibiting spend as consumers juggle to balance household budgets.”
Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, also commented on the disappointing figures from the CSO, alluding that they show continued fragility within the retail sector.
Director of Retail Ireland Thomas Burke said, “While there has been an improvement in the performance of the retail sector in recent months, [these] numbers show that the sector remains fragile and rate of recovery is running behind that of the general economy.”
Burke added, “The disparity between increases in sales volumes and sales values is a clear indication that heavy discounting remains a significant feature of the Irish retail landscape. Although consumer confidence is growing, many shoppers will go out of their way to find a good bargain, which means consumer spending is lower than expected.”
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Hannah Popham.