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Christmas spending down on last year

Tuesday, December 24 11:09:51

Christmas retail trading in December 2013 will be marginally down against Christmas 2012, according to Retail Excellence Ireland today.

"Having contacted over three hundred leading retailers nationwide over the past few days it is disappointing to confirm that retail sales are likely to be down marginally against Christmas 2012," said David Fitzsimons, Chief Executive, Retail Excellence Ireland commented.

"While consumers might have a little more discretionary income than this time last year, even with cash in our wallets we have become habitually frugal and discerning. It would seem that six years of cautious spending behaviour has become a hard habit to break. The retail industry was bullish entering the festive season due to the rescheduling of Budget '14 to October, a return to economic growth and the exit of the Troika. Unfortunately these positives did not impact on spending in the run up to Christmas 2013. Instead customers remained cautious and retailers responded with significant discounts. Many retailers have suggested that the announcement by the Revenue of the 2014 residential property tax last November significantly damaged consumer sentiment and dampened Christmas spending. The adverse weather over the two final weekends before Christmas day also impacted negatively on footfall and dwell time, especially in the high streets. What this means is that retailers are carrying significant stock levels into the Sales period which can only mean one thing - exceptional value for the Irish consumer".

On a more positive note, it is likely that the Sales period will be one of the best on record, REI said.

Retailers have not sold through on significant lines of stock and this will be priced to sell over the period of the Sales.

The Irish customer has never had it this good. Retailers are preparing to reduce prices by upwards of 70pc in a bid to convert stock to cash.