Friday 9 December 2016

Newspapers and books lead the surge as February retail sales rise by 11pc on year

Published 31/03/2016 | 02:30

Retail sales for the month described as ‘stellar’. Photo: Bloomberg
Retail sales for the month described as ‘stellar’. Photo: Bloomberg

Strong consumer confidence drove the volume of retail sales up by 0.3pc in February representing an 11pc increase year on year.

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The value of sales in the month dropped by 0.3pc when compared to January, however they were up 8.7pc on February 2015.

Books, newspapers and stationery saw the largest month on month volume increase of 7.8pc with other retail sales increasing in volume by 5.6pc.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid believes that further single-digit increases are on the cards this year, which he says will add to Irish gross domestic product growth.

"Consumer confidence has been on the up over the last 12 months, hitting a 15-year high in January," Mr McQuaid said.

"This has been reflected in stronger retail spending, boosted by increased disposable income through tax cuts and improved employment conditions," he added.

Merrion is now predicting the biggest rise in personal spending since the Celtic Tiger era following tax reductions announced in Budget 2016.

However, the pub sector suffered the largest monthly decrease of 2.8pc while electrical good sales also fell by 2.4pc. Spending in department stores remains much higher than this time last year, up 11.8pc. Core business sales excluding motor sales increased by 0.2pc on a monthly basis with an annual increase of 7.1pc.

Goodbody Capital Markets economist Juliet Tennent described retail sales in February as "stellar".

"This exceptional performance continues to be broad based with all categories, except for fuel, experiencing annual growth."

Spending on household equipment dropped by 1.2pc on a monthly basis while it rose by 4.4pc year on year.

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