Retail Excellence, the largest retail industry representative body, has welcomed the 3.3% annualised increase in value in retail sales.
Today (Tuesday) the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published its February 2017 retail sales index, which showed that, although the volume of non-motor retail sales rose by 1.2% compared to January 2017, the value of these annualised sales increased by 3.3%.
Lorraine Higgins, of Retail Excellence, said, “We welcome this figure and the upward trend but would warn against being too optimistic. We have been contacted by many members in recent days who are experiencing very negative trading conditions. Some retailers are reporting like for like declines of upwards of 30% against March 2016”.
“It is clear that consumer sentiment has been negatively impacted due to concerns about the impact of Brexit. The primary income in over 100,000 homes comes from a company which is dependent of export to the UK market (agri, food, drink). We also believe that there has been a further acceleration in online shopping activity, most of which is fulfilled outside of Ireland. If this business was being done with Irish-based retailers it would generate up to €1.7bn more VAT for the exchequer, boosting annual VAT receipts by more than 13pc”.
“Retailing is tough at present with many experiencing a combination of legacy issues such as high rents. The real challenge will be the impact of the invocation of Article 50 when it is triggered this week” Ms Higgins said.