Robust Q1 2019 set against a weak Q1 2018 – Retail Productivity Review

Friday 26th April 2019

About the Report

The Grant Thornton Retail Excellence Retail Productivity Review provides the most in-depth retail industry and sectoral analysis available today. The Review monitors overall industry performance and sectoral performance. The Review aggregates and analyses data from over 4,500 retail stores in Ireland. Retail Excellence collated
data through on-line survey. GfK collated data through “plug-in” to retailer Epos.

“Relatively robust”

Commenting on the report for Q1 2019, Group CEO of Retail Excellence David Fitzsimons, said “Quarter 1 2019 proved relatively robust, that said it is set against a weak Q1 2018 when severe weather events negatively impacted retail sales. The quarter saw a significant lift in like for like Agri and Garden Centre sales and a continued improvement in all home categories due to increased home build activity and renovations. The Health Store sector enjoyed a very productive quarter, principally due to consumer bulk buying of food supplements in anticipation of a VAT increase from 0% to 23%. There was significant acceleration in online shopping over the period. It is however notable that the March rate of increase diminished as it was set against a huge spike in online shopping in March 2018 as consumers were confined to their homes due to the “Beast from the East”. Ladies Fashion continues to lose market share to international websites, while Menswear had a robust quarter thanks to the less fickle male who prefers to shop in store.”

“Very promising”

Commenting on the finalised report, Damian Gleeson of Grant Thornton said “The results of the Retail Excellence Ireland  productivity review for Quarter 1 2019 are very promising for virtually all retailers with the exception of ladies fashion retail where strong competition from online sales continues to grow.”

“While much of the positive increases could be put down to the adverse weather conditions we experienced
in Quarter 1 2018, supermarket Retail is up by nearly 3% on the same period last year. This is a key indicator of increased consumer demand which will hopefully flow through for the remaining 3 Quarters of 2019”

The Headlines
  • A significant lift in garden and agri due to better weather in Q1 2019
  • All home categories trading up due to increased home builds and renovations
  • Health stores enjoy best quarter in a long time due to consumer bulk buying of health supplements in anticipation of a VAT increase from 0% to 23% (Paschal Donoghue subsequently delayed any VAT increase decision to Nov 2019)
  • A significant acceleration of online shopping. Notable that March rate of increase was less due to significant online shopping in March 2018 as the Beast from the East kept people home and they choose to go online
  • Mixed fortunes in fashion as ladies continue to migrate online to non-ROI websites. Men less fickle and retain in-store shopping behaviours.
  • Hot beverage, always a great indicator of footfall and general consumer activity, down in March 2019 proving the damaging impact of weather events
  • Discretionary categories such as lingerie and jewellery trading up and especially in March goes against other consumer sentiment reporting
Download the full Grant Thornton – Retail Excellence report by clicking here