The Retail Excellence Ireland Retail Sales Review for Q1 2013 shows that while the period started well, it got progressively worse.
According to the organisation, retail sales were negatively impacted by the inclement weather in March, the introduction of the property tax and industrial relations uncertainty.
The March weather had a significantly negative impact on garden centres (-33.82pc), footwear (-10.79pc) and ladies’ fashion (-7.94pc).
The cold spell resulted in a +6.61pc lift in hot beverage sales in March.
Home appliance sales jumped +18.00pc (average) over the quarter assisted by trading-up and the continued growth of coffee makers and food preparation sales.
Meanwhile, the March Easter bank holiday weekend, which was in April last year, positively impacted on gift and homeware sales, although the opposite was the case for furniture and flooring, which declined -6.03pc during the month.
Grocery traded relatively well and Easter contributed to a reasonable March.
“Q1 2013 proved to be a period of mixed fortunes,” noted chief executive officer David Fitzsimons.
“The quarter commenced with a robust January, a weaker February and a very poor March. Inclement weather, constant commentary regarding property tax and bank holiday weekends undermined trading performance in March for most sectors.
“When one factors in the introduction of the property tax and what is likely to be a turbulent period for industrial labour relations, the outlook becomes somewhat bleak.”