NEW FIGURES SHOW a slight increase in retail sales in the last three months of 2012. The figures, released in Retail Excellence Ireland’s (REI) Irish Retail Industry Performance Review show that the best performing industry sector was hot beverages, up 4.23 per cent.
The home and giftware sector also saw a noticeable increase of 2.18 per cent while ladies fashion and the pharmacy sectors fell just over 1 per cent in the last quarter. The worst performing sector for the fourth quarter was furniture and flooring.
November proved to be the most challenging month of the quarter, with sales falling by 0.17 per cent year-on-year. Pre-budget speculation in October, which caused a decrease in consumer sentiment, is the main reason for this, according to Retail Excellence. The month of December saw an improvement, with Irish retailers reporting an increase of 0.31 per cent.
Speaking today at the publication of the figures, REI Chief Executive Officer, David Fitzsimons, said despite the increase in sales the retail sector still remains fragile.
“Unfortunately, home dependent sectors such as furniture and flooring continue to suffer due to the lack of a functioning residential property market,” he said. “It is noticeable that many retailers discounted in December to generate sales, thus while consumers responded to value, the retailer suffered margin erosion.”
Retail sales have declined 30 per cent since 2008.