Irish shops ended 2017 on a 'positive note' with a bumper Christmas sales period

November’s Black Friday shopping blitz helped extend the traditional festive season.

By Conor McMahon Reporter, Fora

RETAILERS IN IRELAND enjoyed a booming Christmas sales period bolstered by November’s Black Friday bonanza, according to a new report.

The latest Irish consumer spending index published by payments company Visa showed a near-5%, year-on-year increase in cash, card and other payment types throughout December 2017.

The index also recorded a 2.5% increase in overall consumer spending last year in comparison to 2016′s tally.

Face-to-face spending grew for the fourth month in a row last month, increasing 5.3% compared to the figure for December 2016.

According to the data published by Visa, spending in brick-and-mortar shops last month accelerated at its fastest rate since April 2016. December 2017 also marked the third- successive month where the category outperformed growth in e-commerce payments.

However, while there has been a recovery in face-to-face spending, the category was unchanged for the entire 12-month period, while online spending increased 7.4% last year compared to 2016.

‘Solid growth’

Commenting on the figures announced today, Andrew Harker, associate director at IHS Markit – the firm that compiled the data for Visa – said 2017 “ended on a positive note”.

“With Black Friday and Cyber Monday increasingly extending the Christmas period into November, the festive season as a whole looks to have been one of solid growth,” he said.

Harker noted that high street retailers, which have come under pressure from online stores in recent times, “fared particularly well, putting in a performance not seen in the best part of 18 months”.

The household goods category performed the strongest in December, growing just over 12%.

Hotels, restaurants and bars also recorded a hike in spending – up 9.7% – while the recreation and culture sector grew 8.6%.

Irish consumers also increased their spending on items that fell under the food and drink and clothing and footwear categories.

The only category to record a drop in spending last month was health and education, with spending down 0.6%.

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Note: A previous version of this article misspelled Andrew Harker’s surname.