CSO cross-border data raises alarm
10 December 2009
A new report from the Central Statistics Office has highlighted the threat posed to the Irish retail industry by cross-border shopping. From June 2008 to June 2009 Irish consumers have spent approx E435 million in Northern Ireland, with over 40% of households in border counties regularly shopping in the North, and 16% of all households having made at least one cross-border trip to shop.
Ibec group Retail Ireland estimates that every 150 cross-border shopping trips results in the loss of one job in ROI, although the CSO report did not cover this aspect. “Cross-border shopping during 2009 will cause 11,000 people to lose their jobs,” said director Torlach Denihan. “The total cost to the State in income tax lost and social welfare payments for the 2009 job losses will be E220 million.”
In a statement released following the CSO report, Denihan reiterated his call for a 20% reduction in excise on alcohol, as it is a “huge factor” in cross-border shopping. He also revealed that Northern Ireland now accounts for approximately half of all alcohol sales on the island of Ireland.
Retail Excellence Ireland chief executive, David Fitzsimons stated meanwhile that 35,000 retail jobs have been lost this year, and called on Irish consumers “to support their fellow workers in the retail industry by making any everyday or Christmas purchases in the Republic.”