Non-motor retail sales showed an increase of 1.2% last month when compared with January 2017, according to the February 2017 retail sales index published today (28 March) by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
It also highlighted that the value of retail sales showed an annual increase of 3.3%, which was welcomed by Retail Excellence.
However, the Irish retail industry representative body warned against 'being too optimistic'.
Lorraine Higgins, of Retail Excellence said, “It is clear that consumer sentiment has been negatively impacted due to concerns about the impact of Brexit. The primary income in over 100,000 homes comes from a company which is dependent of export to the UK market (agri, food, drink)."
"We also believe that there has been a further acceleration in online shopping activity, most of which is fulfilled outside of Ireland. If this business was being done with Irish-based retailers it would generate up to €1.7bn more VAT for the exchequer, boosting annual VAT receipts by more than 13pc”. Higgins added.
Retail Ireland also welcomed the continued growth in retail sales as evidenced by the February sales numbers released by the CSO this morning.
According to Thomas Burke, director, Retail Ireland: “The year started well for the retail sector with robust growth recorded in the January and February retail sales numbers. After a poor performance by the sector in the second half of 2016, these numbers are a cause for some optimism for the coming months."
In a statement issued today by the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, Burke did sound a note of caution however, regarding challenges that remain.
He said, "The disparity between the growth in retail sales volumes and values remain a concern. Volume growth remains twice that of value growth suggesting retailers still need to heavily discount products in order to drive footfall and sales. Furthermore, with recent indicators suggesting that consumer sentiment remains fragile, anecdotal evidence from members of tough trading conditions in March and threats of country wide public transport strikes in the coming weeks, retailers must remain vigilant".
The sectors with the largest monthly volume increases were clothing, footwear & textiles (4.9%), non-specialised stores (4.5%) and hardware, paints & glass (4.3%).
© 2017 - Checkout Magazine by Donna Ahern