The fourth quarter of 2015 was the best performing period for supermarkets and convenience stores since early 2009, according to the latest Retail Monitor report.
As a result, full year sales were up 3% in value and 4.6% in volume compared to 2014.
Retail Ireland, publisher of the quarterly report, said the positive performance was mainly driven by "additional shopping trips across a larger customer base, particularly over the busy Christmas period".
However, it anticipates that shoppers will continue to move towards discount formats, as they remain strongly motivated by price and value.
Overall, sales in the retail sector in Q4 were 3% higher than the same period in 2014. The group also predicts consumer spending to rise by 4.4% in 2016, following a 3.7% increase last year.
Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke commented, "2015 was the year of the retail recovery. For the first time in seven years we saw a sustained, if incremental, increase in sales across all major categories of retail.
"This growth was boosted by a strong Christmas, which was in line with our pre-Christmas prediction and the sector’s best since 2008."
While welcoming the strong growth in volume, he also notes that value growth remains sluggish. This is especially an issue for the FMCG sector where, as Burke puts it, "Consumers still expect a discount on their day to day purchases."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Brian Dermody