Numbers of shoppers going north has reduced
A fall in the number of people crossing the border to shop is welcome news for retailers in the republic
12 May 2010
The number of shoppers going north is finally beginning to fall. Extreme competition between the multiples, a fall in duty on alcohol in the last budget and the sterling and euro currencies moving much closer has meant that consumers are choosing to shop locally.
According to chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, David Fitzsimons, the “eight per cent fall in grocery prices in the Republic” has been the main reason for the change.
The number of people going to the North to shop could fall even further if the likely increase in Vat after the British general election comes about.
Fitzsimons said: “The new government in Britain after Thursday’s election will have to increase Vat”, which could bring Irish and British rates into line.”
The latest REI figures showed a stabilisation in the decline of retail sales in the Republic in the last six months after a “catastrophic” fall in sales in 2008 and 2009.
He said that retailers were engaging in “aggressive renegotiation” with suppliers and sourcing more products from international suppliers, which was bad news for some Irish firms. “There is also an emerging trend of a return to premium brands, so that at least, should boost sales for indigenous suppliers somewhat,” he said.
Wage costs as a percentage of sales have stabilised in recent months. Fitzsimons said that many small local landlords had been “accommodating” in reducing rents, but claimed that professional and institutional landlords had “failed to budge on the issue”.