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Ireland retailing market suffered the effets of economic recession over recent years
Retailing in Ireland - a new market research report on 2014-04-30 04:23:01
During 2013, Ireland´s retailing industry continued to suffer the after effects of the economic recession which prevailed in the country for much of the review period. Consumer spending remains constrained as consumers are focusing mainly on debt reduction and savings, with concerns relating to the tentative nature of Ireland´s export-driven recovery remaining a concern. The result is that consumers remain focused on value for money and cost cutting, much as they did for the majority of the review period.

In April 2013, Avon Cosmetics Ireland Ltd unexpectedly announced its immediate closure and the withdrawal of the Avon brand from Ireland with immediate effect. The decision came as part of a company-wide cost cutting initiate, and saw Irish managers, representatives and indeed customers surprised by the sudden announcement. This move has a significant impact on direct selling in Ireland, a channel which continued to record declines throughout the review period despite the increase recorded in the number of people entering the category as sales representatives during the economic recession.

The challenges facing Irelands retailing sector, however, are not being met equally across all channels. Grocery retailers have weathered the storm relatively well, recording an overall positive performance during 2013. Despite the consumer desire for lower prices and more value, the level of discounting in grocery retailing has declined, boosting the category´s performance somewhat. Furthermore, a strong shift has been recorded towards discounters as consumers seek lower prices, although this has not had a major impact on the much larger channel of supermarkets, where a limited number of operators serve to keep prices artificially high, in general terms. Non-grocery retailers, meanwhile, recorded further declines as non-essential spending was curtailed further amidst a strong shift towards internet retailing as Irish consumers are increasingly willing to avail themselves of the often much lower unit prices on offer from international and UK-based online operators.

Musgrave Ltd remained the leading company in retailing in Ireland during 2013, ranked ahead of Tesco Ireland Ltd and its main domestic rival Dunnes Stores Plc. The company´s broad spectrum of retail brands within grocery retailing, including Super Valu, Superquinn and Centra, ensured the operator´s leading position. Musgrave invested heavily during the review period to ensure that its retail brands and private label offerings remained competitive and in line with the prevailing consumer trends. Furthermore, the company´s recent acquisition of the Superquinn chain in 2011 and the launch of Super Valu´s internet retailing facility also strengthened the company´s position. As part of Musgrave´s ongoing attempts to lead innovation in retailing in Ireland, during 2013 it introduced contactless payments in its Centra outlets after a successful trial period.

Overall, the performance of retailing in Ireland over the forecast period is expected to be positive with the economic conditions continuing to settle and the recovery of Ireland´s economy gaining strength. Employment levels are also expected to improve during the forecast period, generating higher spending power. These improvements are expected to calm the nerves of Ireland´s beleaguered consumers and it is anticipated that this will result in a relaxing of purse strings, which is expected to result in increased levels of spending and this will essentially kick-start the recovery of the Irish economy, which has been spluttering along for quite some time without ever really returning to the dynamism which characterised the pre-recession Irish economy.

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