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'Shop local and get the economy back on its feet,' consumers told

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Open for business: Kate Davis prepares the window of the Marks & Spencer store on Mary Street in Dublin ahead of today’s reopening. Photo: Gerry 
Mooney

Open for business: Kate Davis prepares the window of the Marks & Spencer store on Mary Street in Dublin ahead of today’s reopening. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Jean McCabe of Retail Excellence Ireland

Jean McCabe of Retail Excellence Ireland

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Open for business: Kate Davis prepares the window of the Marks & Spencer store on Mary Street in Dublin ahead of today’s reopening. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Today is D-Day for retail stores across Ireland which are reopening after months of staring into the abyss.

Among the major retailers flinging open their doors are Ikea, Marks & Spencer, Harvey Norman and Smyths Toys.

Others, including bookseller Eason's and Lifestyle Sports, will operate a staggered approach to reopening this week.

With jobs and the future viability of smaller businesses under threat, the importance of consumer spending has never been higher. The Government's announcement of the accelerated phase of reopening on Friday left many retailers, both big and small, reeling. But all are eager to claw back lost revenue which saw retail sales fall 43pc in April.

Jean McCabe of Retail Excellence Ireland has appealed for people to get back out and spend.

"The retail economy supports more jobs than any other sector and SMEs employ 65pc of the total national workforce.

"The recovery of Ireland is going to be based on the recovery of the retail and SME sector.

"Now, more than ever, consumers need to shop small, shop local to help our economy get back up on its feet.

"The small retailer makes up the fabric of every community in Ireland. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted the sector, with 85pc of the businesses having closed to some degree.

"The moment has come where those businesses get the opportunity to employ their team again: that's your brother, your sister, your neighbour, and they will rely on their local community to come out and support them, to keep your family in a job and keep your community alive."

Brown Thomas will fully reopen its flagship store on Grafton Street and Arnotts, Henry Street, on Wednesday.

Its regional stores in Cork, Limerick and Galway will reopen on Thursday with opening times for all stores from 10.30am to 6pm. The luxury chain has adopted some innovative safety measures to protect the staff and customers.

Customers can join a queue virtually and receive a text message when they are at the front of the virtual queue and can enter the store.

Cosmetic hygiene rules now mean a 'no-touch' policy will be in place on beauty products with testers available to view only.

Both stores will have digital screens to allow customers "virtually" assess how make-up appears on their skin.

Penneys will hold off until Friday.

Today Ikea reopens its flagship store in Ballymun, north Dublin, as well as its click-and-collect store in Carrickmines.

Marks & Spencer has also reopened all its non-food stores but fitting rooms and cafés remain closed.

Lifestyle Sports announced a staggered reopening of its 50 stores with just six reopening today.

Later this week, Eason's will reopen six stores on a "trial basis", including those in Dún Laoghaire, Dungarvan, Swords, Douglas and Dundrum.

Its flagship on O'Connell Street in Dublin will remain closed.

The updated rules allow all retailers with their own street entrances to reopen but those in shopping centres with indoor entrances have to remain shut until June 15.

Irish Independent