Tills rang out for bumper Christmas shopping sprees despite bad weather

Bad weather failed to stop a bumper Christmas shopping period, according to latest figures.

Retail sales figures from the CSO for November pointed to a strong Christmas period with the total value of sales up 4.8% when compared to November 2014.

The volume of sales rose 9.2% over the period. The retail sectors with the largest month-on-month volume increases were electrical goods (up 13.6%), department stores (up 7.4%), and other retail sales (up 4.7%).

Massive shopping sprees on Black Friday and Cyber Monday were key contributors to the growth in spending in November.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said:

“The strong growth in retail sales in November is encouraging and it appears that fears of a slump ahead of the key Christmas and new year sales period were unfounded with month-on-month gro-wth of close to 1.6% recorded in November.

“The broad base of the recovery in retail sales is also notable with all of the core retail categories posting growth in the year to the end of November.

“Hopefully this positive trend in retail sales can continue into 2016, with recent budget tax reductions taking effect this month.”

Mr Burke said December figures were due later this month and were key to assessing the overall picture for 2015.

“December is the single most important trading month for the sector and we are confident that our pre-Christmas forecast of an increase of 3.5% on Christmas 2014 will be realised if not exceeded.

“These numbers will be crucial in determining the overall performance of the sector in 2015.”

John McCartney, director of research at Savills, said all the signs indicated that 2015 saw the strongest pre-Christmas trading for many years — despite being the wettest December on record.

“Anecdotal reports from retailers indicate that they enjoyed brisk trading in the run into Christmas and this is corroborated by the latest exchequer returns which show a 7% increase in December Vat receipts,” he said.

Mr McCartney also said footfall figures for Dublin suggested that people postponed their Christmas shopping to later in December than usual due to the bad weather.

“Despite all the good economic news, footfall on Dublin’s main shopping streets in the early part of December was down on last year.

“However this turned around sharply in the week before Christmas, with footfall up 9% on Grafton St and Henry St as the weather improved and the big day got nearer,” he said.


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