Last quarter had robust trading period but rate of growth dissipating — REI

Retail Excellence Ireland (REI ), Ireland’s largest retail industry body, in conjunction with Grant Thornton recently issued the Grant Thornton REI Q4 Retail Productivity Review in partnership with GfK. While quarter four of 2015 proved a robust trading period, in many retail sectors early momentum dissipated in December as inclement weather arrived and some areas were impacted by flooding. Overall all sectors recorded quarterly gains with one exception, digital cameras.

Commenting on the report Lynn Drumgoole, head of communication at REI, said: "Grocery was the star performer in December recording like for like gains of 2.85 per cent, the largest monthly increase in the grocery sector since May 2012. The uplift in the residential housing market continues to have a positive impact on furniture and flooring, up over 10 per cent, and to a lesser extent on home and giftware sectors. The fashion and footwear sectors all enjoyed a reasonable start to the quarter with menswear in particular having a great run as the ‘McGregor effect’ continues to influence the buying behaviour of millennial males.

"It is clear that the Black Friday phenomenon is having a significant impact across many sectors and especially in consumer electronics where there was strong growth across the quarter, mainly due to kids growing older younger and the increase in requests for tech instead of conventional toys. However Black Friday led to a quieter October as consumers postpone spending, and a weaker post Christmas sales period. And while the day of the digital camera seems to be over, with the increased use of our smart phones, specialist camera sales are growing.

"Overall it proved a reasonable quarter, but that said growth rates are slowing marginally, which it is hoped is as a result of the inclement weather rather than other macro economic factors."

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