Business Irish

Sunday 21 January 2018

Retail sales increase 8.6pc in September

Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers
Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Both the volume and value of retail sales have risen as the domestic economy recovers, and their value is up on the same period last year, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The official data showed that the volume of retail sales was up 8.6pc in September, compared with a year ago. If car sales are excluded, the figure is up 8pc.

In value terms, the rise was more modest, increasing by 4.9pc and actually slipping 0.1pc month-on-month. Alan McQuaid of Merrion Stockbrokers said that although monthly data remained erratic, the underlying trend was positive.

"While most attention has been on cars, personal spending in other areas is picking up too and is becoming more broad-based. This can only be good news for retailers and employment prospects in the sector," he said.

"Consumer confidence has hit a nine-year high this year and this is now being reflected in stronger retail spending, boosted by increased disposable income through tax cuts.

"Low deposit interest rates and falling prices are also encouraging consumers to spend rather than save.

"Indeed, following the recent tax reductions announced in Budget 2016, we think that next year will see the biggest rise in personal spending since the 'Celtic Tiger' era."

Philip O'Sullivan of specialist bank Investec said that could happen this year.

"For some time now we have argued that 2015 will be the strongest year for Irish retailers since the demise of the Celtic Tiger, with these data providing no reason to alter this assessment," he said.

The sectors with the largest monthly decreases were furniture and lighting, down 2.6pc, food beverages and tobacco, which fell 2.2pc, and bars, down 1.6pc. Cantor Fitzgerald is forecasting consumer spending growth, on goods and services, of 3.5pc this year.

Irish Independent

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