RETAIL SALES GREW during the month of September, overriding the doom and gloom of Brexit.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show there was a 4.2% year-on-year increase in consumer spending last month.
When volatile motor sales are excluded from the data, the volume of retail sales increased by 4.7% when compared to the same month last year.
Economist Alan McQuaid said that though “retail sales continue to remain erratic on a monthly basis” the underlying trend is positive.
“Even with the fluctuation in consumer sentiment, overall personal spending has been positive in the past few years, boosted by the increase in the numbers employed in the country,” he said in a briefing note.
McQuaid said Brexit’s outcome and its implications on the euro-sterling exchange rate “will be important factors” in determining spending patterns over the next 12 to 18 months. If the economy remains stable, he expects consumers will continue spending.
JP Kennedy, commercial director at Retail Excellence, told Fora the CSO figures for September were surprising, with many of the trade group’s 4,000 members reporting a decline in consumer sentiment due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Kennedy, the former managing director of TileStyle, said some categories within the retail sector are under pressure and he suggested that consumers are less likely to spend on big-ticket items like furniture and home renovations.