Retailers upbeat about growth prospects for the sector

By Business & Finance
11 June 2014

Ireland’s retailers remain upbeat on the future but the overwhelming majority say the Government at local and national level is not doing enough to support the retail economy.

Despite the lack of support, the majority of retailers are seeking growth and 55% of retailers have made a large investment in their business in the past three years.  These are among the key findings in the One4all Retail Index tracking the views of retailers across Ireland. The research was published to launch One4all Shoppers Week, a weeklong initiative taking place from 9th – 15th June, which encourages consumers to spend the estimated €25m of One4all Gift Cards currently in circulation in return for savings and discounts throughout the week.

Some 72% of retailers who participated in the One4all Retail Index said that the current retail environment is very good to neutral and 38% say that consumer spending has increased in the past 12 months. A further 28% say spending is holding steady but 32% have decreased prices in order to keep customers. However, price competition remains tight and 56% are also offering more discounts and promotions in store compared to 12 months ago.

In line with recent trends, e-commerce is seen as revolutionising the retail sector. The traditional buying habits of Irish consumers continues to shift online with 80% of retailers surveyed, who offer an online sales platform, experiencing growth over the last year. It would seem that others within the industry are taking note of this shift. 59% of those surveyed who do not currently offer customers an online sales channel outlined that they will develop an online offering over the next 12 months.

The research, commissioned by One4all, also finds that aside from the general competition and the economy, cashflow and liquidity are the biggest challenges they face. However, bankers and politicians are not to blame for the recession as just 14% of retailers blame bankers and only 6% blamed politicians.  Instead, poor regulation comes out as the single biggest cause of the recession with more than 1 in 5 retailers blaming poor regulation.

Commenting on the findings, One4all Group CEO, Michael Dawson said: “Retailers, like most businesses, have faced a really challenging time over the past few years.  Despite this they have invested in their business and many are already experiencing growth with over 30% increasing the numbers employed in the past 12 months and almost 50% maintaining employment levels. However there is now an urgent need, as shown by our research findings, for Government at local and national level to reciprocate and support this vital part of our economy.”