Retail body warns of complacency
Retail Excellence Ireland has said that the latest retail sales data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for the period 28th December 2014 to 23rd January 2015, underline the fact that price discounting is driving sales volumes.
REI Deputy Chief Executive Seán Murphy said: "The retail sales data from the CSO build on positive trends. While the volume is up significantly year on year, the fact that value is not tracking volume is disappointing and shows once again that many parts of the country are still struggling.
"Annualised growth of retail sales volume, excluding motor trades was 4.8%, while the annualised value only increased by 0.9% excluding motor trades. This illustrates the impact of the aggressive discounting consumers availed of both pre and post-Christmas.
"This discounting continued into January. It also shows why retailers are extremely nervous about any talk of wage increases in the absence of a broad-based recovery in the domestic economy.
"These figures show that we cannot afford to be complacent. The domestic economy is slowly recuperating but not at the rates and levels that we would all like.
"A thriving Dublin night economy does not reflect the full national picture, nor should it be used to justify hikes in the 9% VAT rate on the hospitality industry.
"Hospitality also supports retail and leisure businesses across the country.
"This must be retained to maintain these businesses and the jobs they generate," he concluded.