No green shoots in retail sector as North Wexford Christmas trade stays flat
INITIAL figures from retailers in North Wexford indicate that Christmas trade was down on expectations, and that the retail sector has still to see the green shoots that are emerging in other section of the economy.
'The indications prior to Christmas were that we were a bit down on expectations, and that there wasn't quite the lift off that we were being told about nationally,' said Dick White of Gorey Chamber.
'Retail Excellence issued a press release along these lines before Christmas, saying that perhaps the green shoots hadn't yet quite hit retail,' he said.
'The January sales seem to have been quite good, and the retailers seem happy, but the income generated from the sales isn't as good as the full price,' he added. 'The sentiment is that we're not quite feeling the buzz yet. There was no great increase from Christmas 2013.'
He said that restaurants did 'okay', and white goods sold well, and televisions sold well after Christmas.
Towns such as Wexford and Waterford had long running entertainment packages to attract families, and while individual businesses in North Wexford had their own Christmas attractions, Mr White felt that perhaps Christmas events are the way to go.
'People want to go out and experience these attractions, but we have to try and keep some of that income at home,' he said. 'Whether or not we want these big themed events, I'm not sure.'
He said he's optimistic for the year ahead, 'In 2015, hopefully we'll see an actual improvement in the national economy filtering down to us,' he commented. 'Tourism should have another good year. The services industry has started to pick up again. But for the retail sector, it's very important that it would see the lift that seemingly has been more apparent in other sectors.'