Wednesday 13 December 2017

Retail sales in Ireland rose by almost 10pc in November

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Sean Duffy

Retail sales in Ireland rose by 0.9pc in November compared to the previous month, according to the latest statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figures are particularly impressive if auto sales are excluded, with the monthly increase rising to 3.1pc.

On an annual basis, there was a rise of 4.3pc compared to the same period in 2015.

November saw a huge surge in the purchase of electrical goods, which rose by 17pc compared to October. That may be in part down to some consumers purchasing early Christmas presents.

However, an annual rise of 13.8pc shows that electrical retailers are performing strongly at present.

Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics also rose sharply, with a month-on-month gain of 7.9pc and an annual rise of 10.2pc.

Overall, the results show steady  growth over the course of the year, particularly in the context of the uncertainty brought about by Brexit in the middle of the year.

“Consumer confidence hit a 15-year high in January 2016 but has dipped since mainly on uncertainty over the “Brexit” referendum. Still, overall, spending was quite robust in the first eleven months of the year, with headline sales up 6.3pc year-on-year on average in volume terms,” said Alan McQuaid of Merrion Capital.

Mr McQuaid believes that consumers are likely to pull back in their spending this year in response to a more volatile international climate.

“Personal spending growth is expected to slow further in 2017 on an uncertain global backdrop but still remain positive, especially as we see sterling appreciating against the euro this year on Eurozone political worries. We are forecasting retail sales volume growth of 4-5pc for the year ahead.”

The strong sales figures were unquestionably boosted by the growing popularity of Black Friday, which takes place on the last Friday of November.

One significant caveat to the CSO figures is that foreign retailers selling into Ireland are not included in the calculations. That means that online retailers such as Amazon and other large global firms are excluded from the final data released.

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