Porsches and Maseratis help spur record growth in retail sales volumes
A big jump in luxury car sales helped spur a record rise in retail sales volume in April.
The number of Porsches — 10 — registered in April 2015 was twice the figure for April 2014, figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) reveal.
The figures show that as of the end of April, the number of Maseratis registered had increased by 700pc — to 8 from 1 — and to a greater level than was seen in the same period in 2007.
However, the number of Porsches sold in the first four months of the year was half the level seen in 2007.
SIMI deputy director general Brian Cooke said people who had delayed renewing their car were now upgrading, and that registrations were up for all categories of car.
“I think year-to-date registrations are up 28pc and we see that continuing. Pretty much 25-28pc up between now and the end of the year.”
He said 800 electric cars have been registered so far in 2015, compared to 1,000 for the whole of 2014, and that the new dual registration system had helped to even sales across the year.
CSO figures show sales volumes in department stores like Brown Thomas and Arnotts were almost 10pc ahead of last year in April, while volumes in bars rose 5.2pc year-on-year.
Merrion Capital economist Alan McQuaid said the 11.9pc yearly rise was the highest since the current statistical format was introduced by the CSO.
“Consumer confidence hit a nine-year high at the start of 2015 and this is now being reflected in stronger retail spending. There does seem to be a view that the worst is over following the severe economic/financial downturn.
“Low deposit interest rates and falling prices are also encouraging consumers to spend rather than save. Furthermore, there is anecdotal evidence that the strength of sterling is starting to entice people from Northern Ireland to cross the border and shop in the south.”
However, the retail market is a long way from reaching its pre-crisis peak.
Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said “while these numbers are encouraging, overall retail sales remain 17pc below pre-recession peak levels. We still have a long way to go to return to pre-crash levels.
“Also sales volume growth remains twice the level of sales value, which suggests deep discounting is still a significant feature of the Irish retail landscape”.