Latest figures for Retail sales show a slight increase during the fourth and final quarter of 2012, according to Retail Excellence Ireland’s (REI) Irish Retail Industry Performance Review Q4 2012.
The best performing retail industry sectors during Q4 included Hot Beverage (+4.23%) and Home & Giftware (+2.18%). Both sectors increasing sales levels in Q4 2012 compared with Q4 2011. The increase in the Hot Beverage sector provides indication that footfall held up well over the period.
The worst performing sectors for Q4 included Furniture & Flooring (-2.12%), Ladies Fashions (-1.31%) and Pharmacy (-1.29%).
Overall, year-on-year sales levels increased by an average of 0.21% during the fourth quarter of 2012.
November proved to be the most challenging month of the quarter, with sales falling by -0.17% year-on-year. Pre-budget speculation in October, which caused a decrease in consumer sentiment, is the main reason for this.
The month of December saw an improvement, with Irish retailers reporting an increase of 0.31%.
Speaking at the publication of the Q4 2012 retail figures, REI Chief Executive Officer, David Fitzsimons, said: “The slight increase in retail sales during Q4 2012 is very welcome; however the sector still remains fragile. It is no surprise that December saw an increase of 0.31% due to the budget announcements complete and consumers regaining confidence to spend again. Unfortunately, home dependent sectors such as Furniture & Flooring continue to suffer due to the lack of a functioning residential property market. It is noticeable that many retailers discounted in December to generate sales, thus while consumers responded to value, the retailer suffered margin erosion”.