Small increase in high street trading as consumers go online

Retailers have reported a small increase in trading this Christmas as far more people shop online.

Retail Excellence, Ireland’s largest retail representative body, published its Christmas trading review yesterday and it showed that projected sales across the industry are marginally up on the same period last year.

This small increase in in-store sales is against a surge of 30% in online sales.

“We have spoken with our members across all of retail’s various sectors and although they are cautiously optimistic about Christmas trading thus far, which is, on average marginally up, our research has highlighted a large surge online with sales tracking up over 30% on a like-for-like basis and logistics companies reporting a circa 40% increase in online packages,” said David Fitzsimons, CEO of Retail Excellence.

The representative group published a breakdown of the various retail sectors, such as beauty and electronics, to see where people are spending.

Trading in furniture and flooring is reported as being “significantly up”. Beauty and pharmacy, consumer electronics, and menswear all have increased trading.

However, stationery, toys, and music are “trading down”, as is jewellery, say reports.

There is a small increase in grocery sales, as well as with ladieswear.

Mr Fitzsimons said a large amount of Christmas shopping takes place over the next few days and urges people to support local businesses.

“The week ahead is of critical importance for the Christmas trading period overall, with a large volume of shopping activity due to take place in the coming days, retailers will be hopeful that consumers shop locally and support their local stores in the run-up to December 25, to ensure a Merry Christmas for all 37,400 retail enterprises operating in Ireland,” he said.

Deputy CEO of Retail Excellence, Lorraine Higgins, already said last week that the busy delivery companies reported that goods were being bought from outside of Ireland.

“Logistic companies reported an increase of up to 40% in deliveries with many orders being fulfilled by retailers operating outside of Ireland and predominately in the UK,” said Ms Higgins.

“This remains a massive challenge for the Irish retail industry with Brexit and sterling devaluation exacerbating matters.”

Meanwhile, leading food and drinks website published its own Christmas survey yesterday which showed that more than half of people did not shop online on Black Friday.

Their results found that most people are likely to start their Christmas shopping in November, whilst almost a third (29%) of people start in December.

However, 53% of people said that they eschewed Black Friday and did not make a purchase on what many would consider one of the busiest shopping days of the entire year.

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