The body representing Irish retailers expects December will be “the weakest period of trading in recent history.”
Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) expects a fall in sales of 6.7% in December despite weak comps, with bad weather and the country’s economic difficulties combining to hit sales.
“The retail industry has been hit with the perfect storm in recent weeks,” said REI chief executive David Fitzsimons. “If IMF intervention and a very severe budget were not enough, the arrival of arctic conditions has minimised shopping activity”
Prime shopping centres and city centres - especially Dublin - have been particularly hard hit, REI said, with shoppers preferring to stay local due to the weather. The organisation notes a trend to customers demanding additional discounts at the till, particularly in independent stores.
However, it said grocery sales have held up well and REI is confident some lost sales will be recouped in the post-Christmas Sales period.