Retail Sales Up 2.7% In Ireland In Fourth Quarter Of 2018
Retail sales in Ireland rose by 2.7% in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to the same period in 2017, according to the latest data from Retail Ireland, the group that represents the Irish retail sector.
The Retail Ireland Monitor report found that sales were up 4.2% in the supermarket and convenience store sector in Q4, compared to the same period last year, while in December 2018 alone, sales were also up by 4.2%.
In specialised food and drink stores, such as grocers, butchers, fishmongers and bakeries, sales went up by 0.2% quarter on quarter, however, December saw a 3.4% increase on the same period in the previous year.
Commenting on the performance of supermarkets and convenience stores, Retail Ireland noted that there was 'strong competition in the supermarket and convenience sector over the fourth quarter of the year, with a large focus on couponing in the multiples.'
Consumers in this sector, it added, remain 'strongly motivated by price', however, the year 2018 marked the strongest year for the sector since the economic downturn of 2007/08.
Shift In Patterns
"The fourth quarter of 2018, and the Christmas period in particular, has further emphasised the dramatic shift in shopping patterns that is under way in Ireland at present," said Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke.
"While sales values held up reasonably well, there is consensus in the sector that footfall levels in traditional shopping hot spots are continuing to decline. This is largely as a result of a move to online shopping by Irish consumers and changing consumer shopping patterns. Retailers have reacted to that move and are now offering an increasingly compelling proposition in this space. This is challenging margins, however, as online fulfilment costs are high, and there is intense price competition in this market," added Burke.
Looking ahead to the coming year, Burke said that he expected 2019 to be a "challenging" one for the Irish retail sector, with "ongoing structural shifts requiring the industry to rethink its traditional approach. Allied to this, Brexit impacts will likely require the reimagining of supply chains and, depending on negotiations over the coming weeks, could impact consumer spending power."
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.