November saw Irish retail sales rise by .9% in comparison to the previous month, according to the latest statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO)
If auto sales are excluded, the picture is even more positive with the monthly increase rising to 3.1%. There was a rise of 4.3% on an annual basis compared to the same period in 2015.
November was a particularly impressive month for electrical sales which rose by 17% compared to October. It is thought the significant pump could be caused by consumers purchasing early Christmas presents. However, electrical sales have seen an annual rise of 13.8% which means the rise is consistent.
Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sales also saw a sharp rise in November with a gain of 7.9% on the previous month and an annual rise of 10.2%.
Overall, the results are positive for the sector showing steady growth throughout the year. The figures are particularly positive when the uncertainty brought about by Brexit in the middle of the year is taken into account.
Consumer confidence and retail sales hit their highest numbers in 15 years in January 16 but saw a dip after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
One significant issue with the CSO figures are foreign retailers selling into Ireland are excluded from the calculations. This means that online retailers such as Amazon and other large global firms are excluded from the final data released.
The strong sales figures were unquestionably boosted by the growing popularity of Black Friday, which takes place on the last Friday of November.
Retail sales are expected to grow a further 4-5% in the coming year. Despite the positive news, consumer spending growth is expected to slow in 2017 due to global political and economic uncertainty.