Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) has released its Irish Industry Retail Sales Review for the first quarter of 2015, which shows a continuing improvement in the consumer environment, though REI warns that caution is required as spending eased towards the end of the quarter.
The sectors that saw the biggest performance gains were Gardening, which saw a 22.2% improvement driven by mild weather, and Small Domestic Appliances with a 12% increase year-on-year.
However, the Grocery sector continues to see only minor growth with an increase of just 0.89% while Photo saw a fall in performance by –32.8%.
Seán Murphy, Deputy CEO of REI, commented on the findings, “Q1 2015 proved a relatively positive quarter which started well with like for like gains of +4.37% in January, mainly a function of today’s consumer tendency to postpone spending into the sales period.”
He went on to warn that; “A significant concern is the fact that the quarter weakened over the three months ending with gains of just +2.43% in March.”
“While we have arrived at a point in the economic cycle where like for like gains are becoming the norm, caution is required on the part of Government as the potential for a return to negative growth cannot be ignored. This is why the Retail Industry is and remains very concerned at the prospect of any cost increases,” he continued.
Murphy concluded that Irish retail has yet to come close to achieving activity levels seen in ‘Noughties’, but that “many of the higher costs in Upwards only Rents, High Local Authority Charges and the National Minimum Wage were ‘locked in’ at that time and have remained in place for the most part.”
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.