Irish retail sales increase - despite growing threats

"The pace of growth in retail sales has eased in recent months as consumers react to increased uncertainty"

Irish retail sales increase - despite growing threats

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Commercial property specialist CBRE has issued a new report examining Ireland's retail sector.

It's found that retail sales in Ireland rose during the first three months of this year.

The author of the report, Matthew Walaszek, Senior Research Analyst at CBRE Research outlined some of the main trends:

"Despite a slight drop in retail sales at the end of Q1 2017, the Irish retail sector continues to perform well overall with strong monthly footfall figures being recorded and retail sales volumes across all businesses 3.2% higher year-on-year.

"Irish households have experienced an increase in disposable income in recent months with average weekly earnings rising by 0.6% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment has fallen to 6.2%, down 120 basis points from the previous year, all of which is supportive of activity in the retail sector," he added.

Sales of electronic goods rose by 15.5% year-on-year; furniture and lighting has increased by 11.8%; household equipment by 11.1% and hardware, paints and glass by 7.8%.

The report notes that, "the pace of growth in retail sales has eased in recent months as consumers react to increased uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the devaluation of Sterling. The growth of e-commerce also poses a challenge for brick-and-mortar retailers, with online spending increasing by 18% in the year to the end of March 2017, while face-to-face spending declined by 2.5% in the period, according to the latest Visa Irish Consumer Spending Index."

The average rent on Grafton St is €6,300 per square metre per annum - which is 37% below peak Celtic Tiger rates.

Space on both Henry St and in Dundrum Town Centre cost €4,500 per square metre during the quarter.

Prime shopping centre rents across the country have remained stable in recent months, typically ranging between €1,500 and €3,000 per square metre per annum, according to CBRE.