QRE in conjunction with Finance Ireland are very pleased to present this qualitative study into the views of retailers on the current retail market.
There has been a lot of commentary in recent months on the retail market, largely it has to be said, as a result of Brexit and what is happening in the UK’s retail sector. While we in Ireland cannot ignore the realities of our largest trading neighbour, our study has shown that, in the main, Irish retailers have a positive outlook for the future.
The Irish retail sector is the biggest contributor to the Exchequer, generating 22% of total tax receipts and employing in excess of 285,000 people. Despite negative commentary, growth was evident in Q1 2019 both in terms of the value and the volume of sales, with increases across all categories evident, with the exception of department stores.
Consumer sentiment remains positive with the most recent data indicating that household spend was up 6.4% year on year and retail spend was up 4.3% in Q1 2019. The retail market does show signs of some uncertainty highlighted by Arcadia’s recent closure announcement of 23 stores across the UK and Ireland (6 of which are Irish stores), however within the Irish economy as we see continued employment growth and rising population, consumer sentiment outlook is positive for the year ahead.
Changing consumer behaviour is evident across all sectors. According to the retailers we spoke to in compiling this study, consumers want more than a mundane shopping experience, as expectations have shifted to a focus on enhanced in-store experiences, accessibility and first-rate customer service.
Despite negative commentary surrounding the retail market, our discussions with retailers clearly suggests that retail is merely evolving. Irish retailers are very much in tune with the realities of their market and have embraced the need for change, central to which is the growth of online shopping. It is QRE’s opinion that Irish retailers are well positioned for a challenging future.
Jenny Donnelly MSCSI MRICS