Friday 22 September 2017

'Significant concerns' for retailers

Retail Ireland called the figures
Retail Ireland called the figures "robust", but warned of significant risks in the aftermath of the British vote.

Sean Duffy

Retailers here face a hit, including from a rise in cross border shopping in the wake of Britain's decision to leave the EU, experts have warned.

Sales rose by 8.1pc in May compared to the same period in 2015, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Sales were up in May compared to April, confounding forecasts.

Retail Ireland called the figures "robust", but warned of significant risks in the aftermath of the British vote. Its put "long-term and short-term risks" on the horizon for retailers in Ireland, said Thomas Byrne, director of Retail Ireland

"In the short term, currency volatility will have an impact on exports. The issue of cross-border shopping is going to be a factor as well," he said.

The fall out from the British vote may prompt some consumers to cut back or delay spending altogether, he said.

"What we see in terms of seismic events like the Brexit vote is that it can cause consumers to recoil. In the longer term, the possible return of customs is also something that will be a challenge. We are seeing an increase in costs and complications for retailers anyway, with rents and wages going up," Mr Burke said.

With a new risk of cross border trade hitting retailers, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association called for rates rebate for border regions, alongside a probe of retail costs by the National Competitiveness Council.

Irish Independent

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