(28 April) Retail Ireland (RI), the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, has called the March 2014 CSO figures “very disappointing” as they showed no change in sales in shops around the country. The value of sales, excluding motor trades and bars, remained the same as March 2013.
While there was an increase of 2.2% in the volume of those sales, the failure of growing sales volumes to translate into turnover growth is discouraging according to RI, and a clear sign of the aggressive discounting needed to grow footfall in many sectors. The figures for the first quarter of 2014 show an increase in sales of only 0.5%, which is a disheartening result considering the low base from which sales stood in 2013.
Commenting on the figures, Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam told Retail Intelligence, "There was an increase in March in the sales of clothing, hardware, furniture, electrical items and books. The double digit growth in furniture sales is indicative of a stronger property market, and long may that continue. However, these increases were offset by falls in sales in supermarkets, specialised food shops like butchers, and department stores.”
Lynam said that the figures for the first quarter are disappointing and an increase of just 0.5% is simply not enough to create jobs and prevent store closures. He added, “One of the biggest issues facing retailers is high levels of local authority rates and charges. With the local elections on the horizon, we will be looking to candidates to outline what they intend to do to help to reduce the burden on struggling retailers.”
In response to ongoing faltering sales, Ibec has launched a new campaign highlighting the five key priorities for the next phase of the Irish recovery. Entitled 'An Ireland that works’, the priorities are: reduce the tax burden; better government; invest in the future; extend Ireland's global reach; and promote enterprise and entrepreneurship.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson