Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index saw a fall in spending last month.
The index, which is produced by IHS Markit and measures spending with cash, cheques and electronic payments, had risen slightly during January (+0.1%), but was down in February by 0.6% on a year-on-year basis.
They said it was the sharpest reduction in real spending for the last two years.
They highlighted the high street as the principal drag on overall spending as it fell by 3.9% on the year, whereas eCommerce maintained its recent growth with expenditure rising by 5.6%.
There was growth in spending in the Household Goods sector and Hotels, Restaurants & Bars sector which recorded a growth of 7.6% and 6.7% respectively. There was also some growth seen in Health & Education (+3.2%) and a modest increase seen in Recreation & Culture (+1.2%.)
However, spending fell in all other categories covered by the report, perhaps most notably in the traditional retail categories of Food & Beverages (-1.3%) and Clothing & Footwear (-3.8%.)
Indeed, for the Food & Beverages sector, the decline was the first in the past 18 months. The bad run for Clothing & Footwear continued as February represented the eighth consecutive month in a row where expenditure declined.
The sharpest reduction in spending was, however, reserved for Miscellaneous Goods and Services (which includes jewellery, health and beauty). Expenditure in this category was down by 5.3%, a fall that was broadly in line with January’s four-year record fall.