A strong performance from the Grocery sector in Q1 2016 has resulted in a positive performance for the retail industry overall, as it posted a 4.9% increase in sales year on year, according to the latest REI Irish Retail Industry Sales Review in conjunction with Grant Thornton.
A positive quarter in the Grocery sector saw year-on-year increases in sales across each month: 2.73% in January; 2.89% in February, and 4.01% in March.
While these are positive results, REI chief executive David Fitzsimons believes that much of the lift in the grocery sector is as a result of the fact that Easter fell in March this year, rather than the fundamentals of a sound recovery. "March 2016 was the 2nd most productive month since June 2007, the primary reason being that Easter fell in March as opposed to April (5th) last year and this had a particularly positive impact on Grocery for the month."
There were strong performances elsewhere in the Hot Beverages sector (+8.38%), the Menswear sector (+11.84%), the Gifts & Homeware sector (+8.54%), and the Home Appliances sector (+9.80%). However, digital cameras continued to fall (-24.0%) as a result of the increasing prominences of smartphone cameras.
Also commenting on the report, Damian Gleeson, Partner at Grant Thornton, said "While many retail sectors are returning to sustained growth, the housing market and related sectors urgently require leadership and direction in order to repair the damage of the previous eight years.
"This is both an urban issue and a regional issue. Towns and villages around the country are falling into decay, while developers wait for an economic price point at which to commence building/refurbishment projects. This is not being helped by the damaging effect of the continuous stream of repossessed properties being released to the market at knock down prices, in areas where supply already outweighs demand."
Fitzsimons concluded by saying: "With the March Easter helping to lift sales, it is most likely that April 2016 will trade behind the same month in 2015, and especially so should a Government not be formed in the month."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan