Christmas grocery sales ‘robust’ as retail declines

Christmas grocery sales ‘robust’ as retail declines

Grocery sales over the Christmas period have remained robust as other retail sectors face decline, according to new figures.

According to Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), grocery sales are tracking slightly ahead of last year, bearing out findings of a mini poll conducted by Ireland’s Forecourt & Convenience Retailer.

However, REI data shows margins are “most definitely” down, with accelerated promotional activity pummelling profits.

The findings for grocery are in stark contrast to other retail sectors, with Irish sales of consumer electronics, telecommunications, footwear, and ladies wear performing particularly poorly.

Stores located near the border with Northern Ireland have also noticed slight declines.

REI said the election of President-elect Trump and Brexit have delivered uncertainty and significantly eroded consumer sentiment.

Meanwhile, the weaker Sterling has seen Irish consumers turn to UK online retailers, with REI noting a significant increase in activity across the Republic.

They said some logistics companies are reporting 30% to 80% increases in the number of parcels being delivered from the UK into Ireland.

Commenting on the trading update Lynn

REI communications director Lynn Drumgoole said “It is disappointing to report that most sectors within the Irish Retail Industry are currently trading down against this time last year.

“We have witnessed a significant increase in shopping with websites in November due to weakened sterling. We have also seen a measured increase in Black Friday shopping at discounted prices.

“These reasons, added to a general deterioration in customer sentiment, have resulted in a challenged retail situation so far in December.

“While some sectors will trade slightly up or on par against last year consumer electronics, beauty and pharmacy, telecommunications, ladies wear, footwear and jewellery are all trending downwards.

“Logistics companies are reporting a 30% to 80% increase in packages arriving into the country from the United Kingdom and this has had a very obvious and significantly damaging impact on the local economy. At this juncture the situation is concerning.”