Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, the latest CSO Irish retail sales figures highlight the continuing recovery of the retail sector.
Despite this, the group said many retailers are still struggling with high pre-recession legacy costs.
Prices for consumers are being kept low by the intense levels of competition, it said. Meanwhile, sales remain 17% behind pre-recession levels. Data for May recorded a 2.2% increase in total value of sales (excluding car sales) compared with the same month last year, with a corresponding 5.4% growth in volume.
Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke said: "It is encouraging to see both value and volume increases across almost all retail categories on an annualised basis. The summer season will be crucial in determining whether the positive momentum can be maintained.
"Now more than ever, retail operators need Government support and action on legacy cost issues in order to secure a sustainable recovery."
Meanwhile, David Fitzsimons, CEO of Retail Excellence Ireland said that while the data is "positive, it is disappointing that sales value still lags behind sales volume on a year-on-year basis. The annual value increase of 2.5pc is modest and is somewhat disappointing when contrasted with the annual volume increase of 5.5pc —when Motor Trades are excluded.
“Retailers need Government to be mindful of this reality in the preparation of Budget 2016. Any cost increases are a cause of concern to retailers grappling with a challenging environment, in which volume sales increases are being secured only through aggressive price discounting," he concluded.
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan