Dublin retailers in line for pre-festive spending spree

Mastercard study for local authorities points to strong but uneven third-quarter activity

Christmas lights on Grafton Street, Dublin, but most shops are closed. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

Christmas lights on Grafton Street, Dublin, but most shops are closed. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill/The Irish Times

 

Pent-up consumer demand is “waiting to be released into the domestic economy” once non-essential shops and hospitality businesses reopen, an analysis of third-quarter retail spending in Dublin suggests.

A Mastercard SpendingPulse study produced on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities found that there was a strong but uneven recovery in spending in the Dublin economy in the third quarter, the period before the Republic moved to Level 5 restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Overall sales increased by almost 22 per cent compared to the second quarter after the easing of the first wave of restrictions improved trading for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Household goods sales rose 62.4 per cent to exceed pre-pandemic levels, while spending on “necessities” recorded a 5.2 per cent drop after a surge in the second quarter.

Entertainment expenditure also showed signs of a nascent recovery as restrictions were eased during the summer but this was from a very low base. On a year-on-year basis, spending on entertainment was down 44.8 per cent.

Tourism spending

Spending by overseas tourists in the Dublin economy was also hammered by Covid-19 travel guidelines.

“Retail activity across both Dublin and Ireland showed better results in the third quarter with an overall positive year-on-year growth rate,” said Michael McNamara, global head of Mastercard’s SpendingPulse.

“Retail activity driven by tourism has been negatively impacted over the summer quarter with the lack of travellers from the US in particular putting a great deal of downward pressure on growth rates.”

Under the Government’s current public health timeline, non-essential shops in Dublin and across the Republic are due to reopen on December 1st.