Irish Retail Sales Grow 3.7%, However Retailers Remain Cautious
Irish retail sales grew 3.7% in the first half of 2017, compared to the corresponding period last year, according to Retail Ireland, a representative firm for the sector.
However, the group also highlighted 'growing concern' amongst retailers that the 'sector’s competitive position is being undermined as costs increase'.
“Retailers remain cautious and uncertain about what the second half of the year will bring in terms of trading performance," said Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke. "With prices now below 2008 levels, retailers remain addicted to deep discounting as a means of driving footfall and additional spend.
"At the same time, we continue to see Government-controlled input costs growing and retailers margins dwindling, threatening the very existence of certain high street brands."
Burke said that the forthcoming Budget, which will be announced on October 10, will offer the government the opportunity to address whist it describes as 'spiralling' costs.
"In this post-Brexit era, control of costs and a focus on our competitiveness will be essential to sustain the recovery in Irish retail, and avoid placing the sector at a major competitive disadvantage compared to counterparts in Northern Ireland or pure play online-only retailers based in the UK."
Retail Ireland has called for measures to be introduced in Budget 2018 that will support retailers in dealing with the worst aspects of the forthcoming Brexit, as well as set out 'a clear path of funding to deliver key infrastructure projects will be essential if we are to protect rural jobs and retailers along the border' with Northern Ireland.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.