Retail sales reach seven-year high in fourth quarter

Retail sales grew by over 4% in the final three months of 2014, on a year-on-year basis, marking the largest such growth for more than seven years.

Figures published yesterday by industry representative group Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) showed that most sectors saw solid sales growth in the fourth quarter, with jewellery the star performer with a near 15% annualised increase.

REI’s deputy chief executive, Sean Murphy, said that Asian tourists coming here to buy competitively priced luxury goods — including jewellery — provided a major boost to sales.

“Luxury retail can be a major source of tourism spend in the future, if we can profile it correctly,” he said.

“While the quarter proved productive, it is important to note that much of the sales gains were at the cost of margin, with November and specifically Black Friday witnessing aggressive discounting activity.”

Meanwhile, the owner of the Dealz fixed price discount retail network has said its strategy in the Irish market is on track and it remains on the lookout for new opportunities.

Poundland — the UK-based European-leader in single-price retailing — operates in Ireland as Dealz and has been aggressively expanding since its entrance to the market in 2011.

In a trading update this week, Poundland said it remains on track to open 60 stores across the UK and Ireland, its two big markets, in its current financial year, which runs to the end of March. It currently operates 39 stores in Ireland.

The group — which is also trialling Dealz in Spain and said that total third quarter revenue jumped by over 10% to £328.4m (€433m) — added that it has “a strong pipeline” of stores planned for its next financial year.

It currently has five stores in Spain, with a view to doubling that figure.

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