Sunday 26 May 2019

Irish retail sales weaker than expected as Black Friday bites

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Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Irish retail sales increased 0.4pc year-on-year in value terms in November, excluding the motor trade.

Sales of electrical goods (up 6.8pc) and in bars (up 4.1pc) - helped the volume of sales grow 0.2pc compared to October of year.

Merrion Capital economist Alan McQuaid said the figures were weaker than expected, but that consumers were still spending solidly. Sales volumes excluding the motor trade rose 1.9pc year-on-year.

"Retail sales continue to remain erratic on a monthly basis and are still swinging back and forth, but the underlying trend is positive.

"Even with the fluctuation in consumer sentiment, overall personal spending has been positive in the past couple of years, boosted by the increase in the numbers employed in the country.

"This is despite the fact that the weakness in sterling since the June 2016 Brexit referendum has enticed some shoppers to spend in Northern Ireland," Mr McQuaid said.

Retail Ireland, the Ibec body that represents retailers, said the figures showed the "distorting" impact that November discount event Black Friday has had.

"There were significant variations in the performance of the various retail sub-categories during November, with those categories most active around the promotional event performing best. Unsurprisingly electrical goods sales were strong," the body's director Thomas Burke said.

"There was notable weakness in department store and clothing and footwear sales in the period, with the relatively mild winter to date and the growing online challenge heavily impacting these categories."

Irish Independent

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