Retail sector needs the economy to recover rapidly
THE Irish economy desperately needs to recover if the retail sector is to survive in its current form, a top executive in the sector said yesterday.
Paul Kelly, who is the head of Selfridges and vice-chairman of Brown Thomas, said that while Brown Thomas was debt-free, the sector in general was still stagnant due to the downturn in the economy.
"It's fantastic to hear all about how Ireland is becoming more competitive and so on but you need to get the internal economy growing.
"Our company is growing because we're taking the business from other people -- the sector isn't expanding overall so it's going to take a long time for things to come back," he said.
Mr Kelly was speaking at IBEC's 'HR Leadership Summit', where the group's president Julie O'Neill called for what she described as a "more radical" reform of public sector pensions than that which is currently proposed by the Government.
"The changes proposed are a step in the right direction, but we would like to see more done.
"Pensions now account for 14pc of the Government's total pay and pensions bill, up 44pc since 2008.
"This is no longer affordable, the taxpayer is simply not in a position to pick up the tab," she said.