Calls on government  to address increasing  cost burden on retailers

Calls on government to address increasing cost burden on retailers

WHILE welcoming the increased Retail Sales figures for July, from the CSO, on Monday, ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, cautioned against any excessive optimism, as the figures are still well below pre-crash figures.

The Association called on Government to address the increasing cost burden on retailers, in insurance, rents and local charges, to ensure the continued employment of the 275,000 in the sector.

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The monthly figures show an increase of 12.6% in volume and 4.5% in value. Year on year retail sales figures showed an increase of 6.3% in volume and 3.9% in value.

When the motor trade is excluded, sales were 2.7% higher in volume and 0.8% higher in value compared with 2015.

ISME, CEO, Mark Fielding said, “Government repeatedly states that its job is to create a suitable business environment.

However, their lack of response to the insurance crisis, the expected increase in the national minimum wage and the total absence of progress in the National Digital strategy shows up a Government out of touch with the retail sector.

The increasing costs and low margins are acting as a brake on the recovery, as evidenced by the slow-down in jobs created”.

“In addition the devaluation of sterling will have a very negative impact on retailers in the border counties and undermine the hard work done by many retailers over the last eight years. Government must realise that our competitiveness is the key to our success.”

The main issues facing retailers are: Very low margins, as evidenced by the CSO figures, negative cross border trade, excessive retail business costs, insurance, rates, development charges and wages, lack of appropriate broadband, social welfare anomalies and insufficient bank credit availability for retail SMEs.

“The government has a pivotal role to play in the reduction of the costs mentioned. The retail sector has the potential to create thousands of jobs in the next two years. It will only achieve this when the business environment is favourable,” concluded Fielding.

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