Independent grocery retail sector contributes €3.6bn a year to economy
Independent grocery shops contribute €3.6bn a year to the national economy and support 90,000 jobs around the country, a new report from economist Jim Power claims.
The report, prepared for retail industry body RGDATA, also says that independent food shops contribute €100m a year in rates and also invest €41m a year in local sponsorship.
Mr Power said that a "significant body of international research" supports the contention that local-owned community-based shops "make a much stronger social and economic contribution" to local communities that foreign-owned and controlled multiples.
Foreign-owned multiples control just over 40pc of Ireland's multi-billion euro grocery retail market, according to Mr Power.
He said that €100 spent in a locally-owned shop results in an injection of €250 into the local economy.
"The same €100 spent in a large multiple results in an injection of just €140," he said.
Of the 4,000 members of RGDATA, 89pc of the shops are family-owned, and that 42pc of those retailers have each invested over €100,000 in their businesses over the past year.
The report said that independent retailers are likely to invest a total of €1.8bn in their outlets over the next five years.
Mr Power said that the growth of out-of-town shopping and the growing significance of non-locally owned shops "has had a profound impact and have combined to put a serious strain on many town centres".
He claimed that the loss of small, local grocers in towns and villages around Ireland has been "extremely regressive" from an economic and social perspective.
"Town centres are important from an economic and social perspective as they provide a range of commercial and community activities that are interdependent," he said.
"Having a diversified retail offering is an essential prerequisite for the vitality and vibrancy of towns."
Mr Power said the weekly turnover for 9pc of the independent grocery stores is under €20,000.
Just under 60pc of stores generate more than €50,000 a week.