Retail Ireland, the IBEC group that represents the retail sector, said the QNHS special module on households' response to the economic downturn published today highlighted the ongoing challenges facing retailers. The group said Government should be much more ambitious in its efforts to create an environment that supports job creation and should implement reforms that will bring down local authority charges, utility costs and rents.
Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said "Today's figures are not surprising. Cutbacks in clothing, footwear and groceries were particularly high. Retailers around the country have first-hand experience of the fall in consumer spending and its impact on their businesses. Since 2008 retail sales have declined by 30% and over 50,000 jobs have been lost in the sector.*
"The challenge facing the Government is to restore consumer confidence and drive domestic demand. While the retail-specific measures in yesterday's Action Plan for Jobs are undoubtedly welcome, much more needs to be done. Costs remain very high when compared to our competitors. We need to see tangible reforms that will bring down local authority charges, utility costs and rents. Until that happens, job creation will be hampered."
*The Government Action Plan for Jobs states that retail sales have declined by 30 per cent since their peak in 2008. It also states that employment in the sector has declined by 47,000 from a peak of 314,000 in 2008.