Retail sector growth losing steam

Business was more favourable during the recent Christmas season when compared with December 2013, with retail sales increasing by 3,4% in real terms. However, despite better sales during the festive period, the longer-term pattern reveals a slowdown in growth over the last three years.

After falling by 3,2% in real terms in 2009 (largely the result of the global economic recession), retail trade showed strong growth of 5,6% in 2010 and 6,1% in 2011. Thereafter, growth slowed to 4,5% in 2012, 2,5% in 2013 and 2,4% in 2014.

The different types of retailer faced different trading conditions during 2014, ranging from just 0,9% growth in the case of food and drink1 to 3,5% growth in the case of textiles and clothing2.

Other results from the publication (all in real terms):

  • Seasonally adjusted retail sales decreased by 0,2% month-on-month in December 2014.
  • Seasonally adjusted retail sales increased by 1,0% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the previous quarter.
  • Retail trade sales increased by 3,1% in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.

1 Retailers of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores

2 Retailers in textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods

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