Retailers breathe a sigh of relief at government’s decision not to move to level 5

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With 67% of retailers in rent arrears, Retail Excellence says they need government support with legacy debts dating back to March and April



6 October 2020

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Over 280,000 employees in the retail industry breathed a sigh of relief as they remain in employment, representative group Retail Excellence stated last night.

Nevertheless, the move to level 3 across the country will have a profound impact on cafes and coffee shops who are forced to move to outdoor dining and takeaway only, Retail Excellence said. With level 3, consumer sentiment and footfall will also be severely impacted, making the run up to Christmas even more difficult for hard pressed retailers.

“It’s important that the health of our economy was taken into consideration as moving to level 5 restrictions with only 11 weeks left until Christmas would have been devastating to the industry,” said Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence. “This is the most important period of the year for retailers for turnover and profit.”

Many retailers are currently trading between 40% to 70% of last year’s turnover and “further restrictions would be the final nail in the coffin for many,” Graham said. “We have lost over 90 high profile stores in Ireland already this year including chains like Debenhams, Mothercare, Oasis, and Inglot. The situation will only get worse particularly in Quarter 1 of next year.”

Retail Excellence also stated that further restrictions would drive a huge acceleration in online shopping, of which over 70% goes to retailers outside of Ireland.

“Retailers need government support with legacy debts dating back to March and April,” the organisation added, with 67% of retailers surveyed recently stating that they were in rent arrears.

As one retailer described the situation: “This talk not conducive to conducting business and is grinding retail to a halt. We need certainty and leadership from government at this time.”



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