Retail sales for the second quarter paint a concerning picture as industry growth rates continue to flatline according to Retail Excellence Ireland.
According to a report they carried out with Grant Thornton, some sectors performed well, whilst others experienced like for like declines.
The clement spell of weather in late May and early June helped Agri and Garden which saw over 9% growth for the quarter.
Other sectors were less fortunate with fashion and footwear seeing a decline in the quarter, across women’s and children’s wear as well as jewellery.
Some home categories performed reasonably well with growth in large home appliances of 14% and gift/homeware also up. There was a like for like dip in Furniture & Flooring sales over the period which had seen a sustained growth over the last three quarters.
The impact during the quarter of Ireland’s political instability and the Brexit determination most certainly contributed to a disappointing quarter overall.
Communications Director at REI, Lynn Drumgoole commented, "Whilst political instability and Brexit have had and continue to have a significant impact on trading, a greater concern is that underlying consumer confidence is eroding. It is for that reason that we need a real political focus on the needs of the domestic economy and the full implementation of the promised Employers PRSI reduction for low paid workers to enable employers sustain the National Minimum Wage (NMW) increase of €0.50 per hour since January 2016 and a further likely increase of €0.10 in January 2017."
She added, "Furthermore having an annual reveal of the National Minimum Wage does not allow for effective business planning and thus the NMW should be determined by the Low Pay Commission in three year cycles."