There was a decline in consumer sentiment in February from 64.2 in January to 59.4.
This is according to the latest KBC Bank Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index, published today.
Commenting on the results, Kevin Timoney of the ESRI said, “The decrease in sentiment was expected due to the end of the January sales period. However, all categories of the index fell relative to January, with the largest decline registered for unemployment expectations. Though much improved relative to a year ago, consumers became more pessimistic about their expectations for unemployment in February, following an improvement in January.”
Austin Hughes of KCB Bank Ireland also registered disappointment at the broad-based nature of the decline. He said: “Consumer spending power remains under pressure and there is little to suggest a dramatic improvement in Irish economic circumstances that would cause a ‘feel good’ factor to emerge anytime soon. About the best that can be expected is a slow easing in the ‘fear factor’ that would encourage a gradual increase in spending.”
Responding to the figures Retail Excellence Ireland expressed its disappointment with the drop in consumer sentiment.
David Fitzsimons, CEO Retail Excellence Ireland said: “The latest consumer sentiment index shows that consumers are still very cautious about spending. There continues to be significant pressures on household finances and it doesn’t look like these pressures are going to ease any time soon. There has been a noticeable decrease in consumer activity reported by our member companies in 2013 to date, and we are deeply concerned about the future viability of some retail operators.”