More optimism by retailers as trading increase continues
Cautious optimism after the best pre-Christmas trading “in several years” has continued this week with retailers enjoying busy post-Christmas sales, according to Retail Ireland.
Some retailers have reported to the industry group that sales on St Stephen’s Day and Thursday were up by 10 per cent on last year. However, the group, which is affiliated to employers’ body Ibec, added that other retailers have reported “more modest” increases in trade and that a clear picture won’t emerge until the official statistics are released.
“Despite the increase in sales in recent months, retailers continue to be concerned,” said Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam.
“Last Christmas, retail sales data showed a rise, only for the market to slip back again in the new year,” he said.
In October, the latest month for which figures are available, retail sales volumes were running 3.1 per cent ahead of the same month in 2011. But the industry regards the improvement in recent months as fragile rather than a sustained return to growth.
“Unless Government can give consumers the stability and confidence they need to spend, sustainable recovery will not take place,” Mr Lynam said.
Retail Ireland’s latest survey of sentiment among its members suggests that 31 per cent rate their own business currently as poor, 63 per cent as average and just 6 per cent as good.
A fifth believe their business will be poor in three months’ time, more than half say it will be average and 27 per cent say business will be good.
This was an improvement on a year earlier, when two-thirds of respondents described their business as poor and a similar proportion expected it would remain that way.