The retail industry continued to grow during the first quarter of 2016 with retail sales up 4.1% year on year. This comes despite uncertainty around the prospect of Brexit according to the latest quarterly Retail Monitor for Q1 2016 from Ibec.
In terms of supermarkets and convenience stores, Q1 2016 is up 5.4% when compared to the same period in 2015, thanks mainly to a strong performance in March (up 5.6% YoY) which can be attributed to an early Easter this year.
Despite the positive sounding results for the supermarkets and convenience stores sector, Ibec remain relatively downbeat, stating; "With value growth for the first three months lagging behind volume growth, it is clear that inflationary pressures remain repressed as shoppers continue to buy deals or adjust shopping patterns to avoid any potential price increase."
Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke said: “The recent decline in consumer sentiment reflects concerns about external risks such as a Brexit and domestic political uncertainty.
"The recent suggestion by leaders of the UK Leave campaign that the UK would choose to exit the EU single market post-Brexit would further increase the likelihood of the reintroduction of some form of border between the Republic and Northern Ireland and additional barriers to trade with the rest of the UK. This is a deeply worrying prospect for any retailer operating across the British and Irish markets."
In relation to rising business costs, Mr Burke said: “Retailers are increasingly concerned at a rising cost base and the development of unrealistic wage expectations. The cost of goods and services across the economy is similar to what it was in 2008. This reality needs to be reflected in wage expectations.
"If we lose our competitive edge, we will pay for it in jobs. On a more positive note, the continuing fall in unemployment and a rising population are very positive trends for retailers and should feed into stronger sales figures in the coming years," he concluded.
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan