SUMMARY RETAIL SALES VALUES
The retail sector was hit very hard by the impact of severe weather conditions in February and March of this year. Research published by Irish Business & Employers Confederation reports sales values generally across all sectors were down with spending in specialised stores such as toys, books, garden and home purchases especially reduced.
Clothing, footwear and Fashion continued to fluctuate and pressure from UK online stores and sterling values is becoming a constant threat.
Q1-2018 was a relatively solid quarter for the pharmacy sector despite total sales values decreasing by 1% compared to the same quarter last year, as total sales volumes increased by 3% versus Q1-2017. The key areas driving growth in quarter one was a prolonged cough and cold season, coupled with a healthy performance in core toiletries.
Food retail and drink suffered a drop of 6.3% as a consequence of the snow and severe weather conditions as did the hotel and hospitality sector during the severe weather period.
General optimism is warranted for a pick up in Quarter 2 as the summer weather will assist with catch up and improved sales across many sectors in the North Wexford area. Growth above 4% is likely; however Chamber Members will need to concentrate on both sales volume and sales value with a major emphasis on value for money. Footfall in North Wexford is unlikely to reduce this summer as the reverse weather predictions will increase substantially visitor numbers and consumer sentiment.
Key factors to be considered now as we head to Q2- Q4 include:
- Online sales increases, to UK based retailers, as sterling continues to fluctuate. Chamber Members should be planning their autumn promotions to counteract this threat post the summer period.
- Ongoing upward pressure for wage increases.
- Increasing oil costs heading into Q3.
- Upward inflation.