Wednesday 7 December 2016

Price war pushes retail sales to eight-year high

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 07/01/2016 | 02:30

Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins
Christmas shoppers on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron/Collins

Retail sales rose at their fastest rate in eight years before Christmas as struggling stores waged a cut-price shopping war.

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The amount of shopping soared by over 9pc, as bargain-hunters flocked to city centres and malls to pick up gifts, partywear and tasty treats.

But the latest data, giving a glimpse of the festive shopping spree, reveals the value of shopping done lagged behind the amount of sales.

This means retailers were slashing prices to win customers.

The figures, for the year to the end of last November, show a 5.6pc rise in the value of sales, compared with a 9.3pc increase in volume.

Electrical goods enjoyed the most dramatic boost in turnover in the year, with an increase of over 22pc.

Department stores were also big winners with a 14pc increase in sales, despite the loss of Clerys. Furniture and lighting sales rose by 18pc.

The big losers since October were motor sales, which fell by over 1pc in the month, while clothing, footwear and textiles, saw a 1pc drop and the fortunes of bars fell by almost 1pc.

ISME, which represents small to medium sized businesses, welcomed the growth in sales.

However, it warned that retail jobs are in danger because wages are rising.

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