Retail Ireland has heralded this Christmas trading period as the best for retailers since 2009. This is according to the retail representative group’s Christmas Retail Monitor 2014, which tracks trends across the economy and shows key indicators for a profitable festive period this year.
This year, the monitor estimates that shoppers will spend more money this December, up to€3,960 million from €3,880 million in 2013, which is an annual rise of 2%. Additionally, Irish households will spend an extra €650 to €750 in shops this month, compared to other months of the year.
Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke said, "The Irish retail sector has had some very tough years, but there is now cause for cautious optimism. The next few weeks are by far the most important trading period of the year, and key indicators are pointing in the right direction.”
According to the monitor, retail sales in the first nine months of this year are up 1.5% in value terms on the same period in 2013, excluding the effects of buoyant car sales. This is one of the first signs of a recovery in a retail economy where turnover fell by almost 25% between its peak in 2007 and a low point last year.
Retail Ireland also said that rising employment means that shoppers have more money to spend as around 35,000 extra people are working since last Christmas, which is also 6,000 more than in Christmas 2012.
Another indicator for a Christmas spend increase is the continued rise of disposable income. There was a significant drop in disposable income between 2008 and 2012, but it rose last year by 3.3% and a further 3% this year. Retail Ireland also expects consumer sentiment to grow 40% on the same period last year (the year to October), with consumers far more optimistic coming into Christmas 2015.
Burke said, “More people are at work, disposable income is rising and the Irish consumer is more positive about the future. This should translate into a really strong Christmas period for the sector. This is good news for the economy; it means more jobs and more tax revenue.”
This year will also be a cheaper Christmas for shoppers, as competition is still fierce, with goods inflation at -2% annually and goods being at their lowest level since December 2002.
However, Burke also highlighted that many retailers still pay "unsustainably high rents" and called on the Government to support Senator Feargal Quinn's Bill on upward only rent reviews, which has been backed by the Seanad. Burke said, "Retailers continue pay high commercial rates to local authorities, while the quality services is diminishing, a fairer system is needed."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson