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cash to splash

Lower prices at the petrol pumps means you're spending more in the shops

However, women didn’t invest in too many winter coats this season.

THE FALL IN OIL prices means consumers have more cash to splash in the shops.

IBEC’s Retail Ireland Monitor finds the dramatic fall in oil prices is boosting consumer spending power.

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Every $10 fall in the price of a barrel of oil translates into an additional €100 million spending power for Irish consumers, said IBEC.

Overall retail figures for 2014 mark the first full year of growth since the recession.

This gives businesses confidence for 2015, indicating a turning point has finally been reached after a number of very challenging years for the sector.

Christmas shopping 

At Christmas shoppers were out in force, with December’s sales edging up 1.8%, however, total sales values are still 17% below 2008’s peak.

So, what have you been spending your cash on?

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Not coats, anyway. Retail Ireland says the unseasonably mild weather impacted women’s fashions with the sale of coats and winter boots down considerably. However, men’s sales were more postitive.

Overall, 2014 saw the volume of fashion, footwear and textile sales jump up 5.4%.

shutterstock_220360582 Shutterstock / fototip Shutterstock / fototip / fototip

The boost in the housing market has also had a knock on effect, with shoppers kitting their homes out with new furniture, with volume sales for furniture, lighting and homeware stores up 21%.

This is without doubt the year’s strongest performing category, indications are that furniture will continue to lead retail’s recovery.

Black Friday – although very successful for retailers – did result in a slower than expected start to Christmas trading, with more people waiting for the sales to get a bargain.

Black Friday David Parry David Parry

Last minute shoppers helped to ensure the week immediately before Christmas was very strong, as was the post-Christmas sales period.

Almost all in-store categories returned growth, with jewellery, women’s accessories, beauty, furniture and homewares performing particularly well.

There’s more good news for the year ahead too.

The group estimates consumer spending will rise by 2.7% in 2015, following growth of 1.3% last year. People are also expected to have more cash to spend with disposable income predicted to rise of 3.5% – 4%.

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