Impact Of Brexit Fails Halt Consumer Spending In Ireland

Ireland’s retail sector continued its recovery last month, despite fears about how Brexit could negatively impact the economy.

Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index (CSI) pointed to further growth of spending in July. Expenditure across all payment types (cash, cheques and electronic payments) was up 6.4% year-on-year, a further solid expansion and one that was slightly faster than seen in June (+6.0%). Household spending has risen throughout the 23 months of the series so far, with the latest increase quicker than the average over this period.

Spending via eCommerce categories continued to drive the overall increase in expenditure, with spending rising 9.9% year-on-year during July. That said, this was the slowest expansion since March. High street expenditure, meanwhile, rose at a faster pace than in June (+4.8% from +1.9%), with growth also sharper than the average for this series so far.

On a sectoral basis, Recreation & Culture categories once again signalled the fastest rise in spending and was the only sector to post a double-digit expansion in July (+11.5% year-on-year). Rates of growth in the Household Goods, Transport & Communication and Health & Education sectors also dipped from June, but remained solid.

Meanwhile, improved rates of expansion were seen in the Food, Beverages & Tobacco, Clothing & Footwear and Hotels, Restaurants & Bars categories, with the former posting its strongest increase since February.

Philip Konopik, Ireland Country Manager, Visa said: “While there is some economic uncertainty at the moment, we have not seen an impact on Irish consumer expenditure as yet with household spending continuing to rise. The overall rate of growth in July was slightly stronger than the 23-month series average and all sectors saw an increase in spending during the month.”

Andrew Harker, Senior Economist at Markit added: “There was no sign of a let up in spending by Irish consumers in July, with growth actually picking up slightly from June. There was some positive news for the high street as face-to-face expenditure rose at a faster pace and sectors such as Hotels, Restaurants & Bars and Clothing & Footwear appear to have particularly benefitted from this. Official consumer spending data for Q1 are now available and back up the story told by the Visa Consumer Spending Index over this period, but the CSI data are providing a much more up-to-date picture and suggest that spending growth remained solid at the start of Q3.”

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