Gift card sales soar due to staff bonuses
Sales at the company behind the One4all gift card brand surged by more than a fifth last year, boosted in part by firms giving bonuses to staff in the form of vouchers.
Gift card sales for the final three months of last year - the busy Christmas shopping months - saw sales surpass €96m in Ireland and £37m in the UK.
The biggest increase in 2016 was in online sales, which jumped 31pc, which the company attributed to a broader shift towards online shopping. Online sales in the UK rose by 61pc. Sales were also likely boosted by the Government's benefit-in-kind programme, which allows workers to get a non-cash gift tax free from their employers - a form of bonus.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed in Budget 2016 that the amount employers can give their staff was doubling to €500. The change was backdated to the day the Finance Bill was published in October 2015.
It had been expected that the upturn in the economy meant that large numbers of employers were to give non-cash gifts to their employees ahead of Christmas as a bonus. The benefit is usually in the form of a voucher or gift card.
Michael Dawson, group CEO at the Gift Voucher Shop, said: "A heightened awareness of the benefit-in-kind scheme is a contributing factor."