Retail sales volumes and values higher in November

Wednesday 06 January 2016 12.33
Retail sales volumes were up by over 9% in the year to November  but values were up by just over 5.5%
Retail sales volumes were up by over 9% in the year to November but values were up by just over 5.5%

The volume of retail sales increased by 2.2% in the month of November and by 9.3% in the year to the end of that month.

The latest CSO figures indicate that the value of retail sales increased by 1.6% in the month and by 5.6% in the year.

When motor sales are excluded, the value of sales increased by 2% in the month and by 4.9% in the year.

The sectors recording increased sales in the month included electrical goods, which saw a 13.6% volume increase, reflecting the Black Friday surge in shopping. 

Department stores recorded a 7.4% increase in volumes and other retail sales, which were up by 4.7%.

The sectors with the largest monthly decreases were Motor Trades, down by 1.2%, Clothing, Footwear & Textiles, which recorded a volume decrease of 1.1%, and Bars, where volumes were down a marginal 0.1%.

"Black Friday likely explains the surge in retail volumes in November, with retailers marketing heavily around the day," Davy economist David McNamara said. 

"This is reflected in exceptional growth in electrical goods and department store sales during the month. 

"Looking ahead, anecdotal evidence suggests that December was the best Christmas season since the recession with Retail Excellence Ireland signalling a 3.6% rise in trading on December 2014. An improving labour market and fresh tax cuts mean the retail sector should continue to make solid gains in 2016," he said.

Philip O'Sullivan, chief economist with Investec, said the figures pointed to a strong outcome for retail sales for 2015.

"While this is clearly a strong release from the CSO, it is not a particular surprise as the upturn in consumer spending has been well established. On an annual basis, total retail sales have enjoyed an unbroken run of growth that stretches to more than two years now," he said.

Alan McQuaid, Merrion's chief economist, said the figures were on the strong side.

"It now looks like headline sales will post an increase of 8.7% for last year as whole, with "core" sales up about 6.5%. 

"Further high single-digit rises are on the cards for this year, which augurs well for GDP growth in 2016," he added.

Goodbody's Dermot O'Leary welcomed the bounceback in retail sales following a disappointing October, confirming that the Irish consumer revival remains on track.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that retailers enjoyed a similarly positive performance in the pre and post-Christmas shopping period in December. 

"With consumer confidence at a ten year high, tax cuts coming into play and earnings on the rise again, the prospects for consumer spending in Ireland look bright for 2016. Indeed, consumers could be the biggest driver of the expansion in Ireland this year."