Online surge drives retail sales growth
The volume of retail sales has recorded year-on-year growth of 3.2pc according to the latest Retail Market view report from commercial property agents CBRE.
But while consumers have been spending more money, increasingly they're spending it online.
The latest Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index, CBRE's snapshot of the retail sector, notes that online spending experienced annual growth of 18pc while face-to-face spending dropped by 2.5pc in the same period.
CBRE senior research analyst Matthew Walaszek said leaving aside the "challenge" ecommerce now poses for traditional "bricks-and-mortar retailers", a survey by the company of Ireland's 10 main shopping streets shows five locations recorded an improvement in occupancy rates over the last six months.
With just two units unoccupied, Galway registered the lowest vacancy rate at just 1.83pc.
Dublin's vacancy rate recorded a marginal increase to 3.87pc, but CBRE believes this can be attributed to the ongoing fit-out works on the new Grafton Street outlet of Victoria's Secret combined with the impact of heavy construction activity in the city centre.
Limerick and Cork saw their vacancy rates increase slightly to 8.45pc and 9.89pc respectively. The increase in Sligo has been dramatic, jumping from 12.81pc in the third quarter of 2016 to 20.51pc in the first quarter of this year.
Prime Zone A rents on Dublin's Grafton Street are stable at €6,300 a square metre - 37pc below peak levels - but are expected by CBRE to increase as new deals for retail space are transacted.