Monday 18 December 2017

Retailers gloomy over economy with just 15pc growing in confidence

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

RETAILERS have called on the Government to improve consumer confidence in the forthcoming Budget.

Some 54pc of shop owners rate the current performance of their own business as poor, with only 15pc admitting to be more confident about their business than three months ago.

However the Retail Ireland survey showed 77pc of respondents believe the overall business environment is poor or very poor.

Retail Ireland chairman Frank Gleeson said: "There will be no end to the current recession until consumers feel sufficiently confident to begin spending again.

"Many consumers are simply too nervous to spend even though they have the spending power and are in comparatively well paid jobs

"Government needs to embark on a comprehensive and pro-active communications strategy to put the facts on the economy in perspective for consumers."

Hikes in VAT, excise duties and carbon taxes are all likely in the massive €3.8 billion savings package in the forthcoming Budget.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has also suggested that VAT could rise to 23pc from 21pc.

He called for a new social welfare smart card system so payments and benefits spending are promoted in the domestic economy, stamp duty and property tax incentives for first time buyers, and incentives for home improvements through a home improvements tax credit.

Mr Gleeson, Topaz director, said the good work done by Government communicating to the international financial markets and the EU/IMF/ECB, must be replicated at home.

"Any increases in VAT or excise will further delay any recovery in consumer spending and should not form part of next month's budget," he added.

"Next year consideration should be given to moving the Budget to earlier in the year and away from the vital pre Christmas trading period."

The poll of 84 retailers The survey was based on responses received from 84 retailers polled over the autumn.

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