Alarmist Met Eireann weather alerts over last weekend have had a significantly damaging impact on footfall, Retail Excellence has said.
Trading over Christmas 2018 to date has been challenging. It very much looks like the Irish Retail Industry will trade on par with Christmas 2017, at best, the group said in its Christmas Trading Statement.
Aside from the weather, the retail body also suggested that a number of factors have contributed to the current situation.
“An extended period of quiet trading in the weeks before and after Black Friday,” David Fitzsimons Group CEO, Retail Excellence said.
“A significant increase in online spending with international websites, many of whom do not apply VAT and customs duty."
Fitzsimons also attributed: “Increased cross-border shopping due to our uncompetitive VAT rate of 23%, the erosion of sterling providing better value in the North for certain product categories and also an erosion in consumer sentiment as a result of Brexit” as other challenges facing the retail industry.
Grocery and Alcohol
‘Grocery and alcohol sales month to date have been reasonably buoyant, albeit competition is more intense than ever before more as the fight for market share accelerates the group,’ outlined in the statement. .
The general feedback as outlined by Retail Excellence is that Irish consumers are spending more on Christmas than ever before and the next few days are the most important in the cycle.
It is likely that the Irish grocery sector will trade up 2-4% on the same period last year with average transaction values growing. A noticeable trend in the sector is the continued move of a significant cohort to more premium ranges and a more informed and discerning consumer out shopping today, the report indicated.
Many operators suggest that social media and the proliferation of food content is one of the principle reasons behind the trend. While Christmas 2018 will trade up on last year, grey Brexit clouds loom for a sector that has most to lose in a no-deal scenario.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.