Retail Ireland Report Highlights Challenges From Brexit And Online Stores
Retail Ireland has launched a comprehensive report highlighting the need to sustain competitiveness and consumer confidence in the face of stiff challenges from online sales and the impact of Brexit.
The report, titled Shaping The Future Of Irish Retail 2020, is the most comprehensive strategy developed to date. It incorporates the views and sentiments from stakeholders across the entire retail ecosystem including retailers, policy makers, employee representatives and consumers groups.
Key Points From The Report
- 85% of retailers surveyed intend to invest in people and careers in the next three to five years.
- 92% will invest in new technology and store refurbishments.
- 92% of retailers say Brexit is having a negative impact.
- Brexit accelerates online migration.
- Up to 75% of online sales going to foreign websites.
- Retail is the country's biggest private sector employer (employing 280,000 people).
- The coordinated efforts of all stakeholders will be required if the sector's competitiveness is to be safeguarded.
- The value of retail sales remains 13% below pre-crisis levels.
- Growth in retail sales between 2017 and 2020 is likely to average 1.2% to 2.2% per annum, mostly driven by population growth.
- Growth in employment in retail is likely to be incremental in the coming years.
Launching the report, Thomas Burke, Director of Retail Ireland stated: "Few sectors were as hard hit by the economic collapse and subsequent recession in Ireland, which saw sales hit hard and over 40,000 jobs lost [...] For the first time, we have collaborated with all of our stakeholders across policy, consumer, employee, and retail groups to create a vision for the industry that will enable us to become a thriving, world-leading sector by 2020."
Recommendations To The Government
Retail Ireland called on more support from government as a matter of urgency in order to support the sector to realise these ambitions. These include:
- Centralise government support for the retail sector.
- Introduce a tax credit to support Irish retailers to compete with international online retailers.
- Grow consumer disposable income.
- Reduce the cost of regulatory compliance.
- Increased support for retail training and education programmes.
- Regenerate Ireland's high streets.
Optimistic For The Future
Conor Whelan, chairman of Retail Ireland and managing director of Eason Group, said that the sector is undergoing an unprecedented structural shift at present, but that, "Irish retailers are showing a great degree of adaptability in response to shifting consumer demand, and are transitioning towards an 'omni-channel' offering for shoppers, by embracing new technologies and building new in-store experiences.
"This will be critical for them in the coming years as increasing number of Irish people shop online and up to 75% of online transactions go to foreign websites, which negatively impacts Irish jobs, businesses and the State's tax revenue."
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Gavin Ryan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.