* "Core sales" volumes up 4.9 pct y/y, surpass 2007 peak
* Value of sales 13 pct below peak as price cuts continue
* "Black Friday" pushes electrical goods sales up 13.8 pct
(Adds detail on price discounting, analyst comments)
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, Jan 5 Irish retail sales volumes rose
4.3 percent year-on-year in November, data showed on Thursday,
after another round of price cuts around "Black Friday" led to a
particularly big jump in the purchase of electrical goods.
Retail sales have grown strongly since Ireland became the
fastest growing economy in the euro zone in 2014 but has often
come at the cost of heavy discounting in an economy where the
annual inflation rate has barely budged in the last four years.
Excluding car sales, volumes were up 3.1 percent
month-on-month compared to a rise of 0.9 percent counting the
motor trade and stood 4.9 percent higher year-on-year,
provisional figures from the Central Statistics Office showed.
That marked the first time in almost 18 months that "core
sales" outstripped the headline rate, and saw volumes surpass
the previous peak reached in 2007 before the "Celtic Tiger"
economy crashed and pushed the country into a bailout from
However the value of sales are still 13 percent lower than a
decade ago and the data for November implied that retail prices
were down 1.2 percent on the month and 2.5 percent compared to
last year, according to Davy Stockbrokers.
"The pick-up in sales volumes in November seems to point
towards a notably increased price sensitivity on the part of
Irish consumers," said Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC
"As the monthly pick-up in sales volumes more than
compensated for the drop in prices, this strategy seems to have
been successful, at least initially. Of course, the November
sales jump may reflect spending brought forward from December."
Electrical goods sales, which also rose sharply at the same
time in 2015 owing to the growing popularity of "Black Friday"
in Ireland, rose 13.8 percent year-and-year, followed by a more
than 10 percent increase in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics
sector as well as in furniture and lighting.
Industry body Retail Ireland said early trading suggested
the sector would struggle to meet its Christmas growth targets,
noting the added challenge of the weak pound tempting shoppers
over the border to the British province of Northern Ireland.
Hughes said favourable trends in employment and some gains
in earnings suggested there would be uneven but still solid
gains in 2017.
Merrion Stockbrokers chief economist Austin Hughes predicted
that the fall-out from Brexit would see retail sales volume
growth soften to between 4 and 5 percent this year, compared to
an expansion more than 6 percent in 2016 and 8 percent in 2015.
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)