Irish retailers hammered by Brexit and online retail flight - Peadar Tóibín TD
Sinn Féin’s Peadar Tóibín TD has outlined his concerns for Irish retailers, particularly those close to the border who will be affected by the fall in Sterling as a consequence of Brexit.
Deputy Tóibín said that trends are hitting retailers hard - the first being Brexit and the second being migration of retail on line. If the government does not increase supports for Irish retailers to deal with this jobs will be lost.
Teachta Tóibín who is Cathaoirleach of the Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Committee said:
“As consequence of Brexit, increasing amounts of people are going online to do their shopping or travelling up north. This is due to the falling value of Sterling which has made these retail options increasingly attractive. Online purchases in sterling have also received a major competitive boost.
“With 32% of sales coming from online transactions, by far the highest in Europe, Irish businesses are particularly at risk from losing custom if they are not given appropriate supports to launch e-commerce strategies of their own. 70% of the money spent online leaves the country.
“In our committee meeting today, Vincent Jennings, CEO of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association said that he could not identify any supports from the government following Brexit.
“Undoubtedly Brexit is bad for business. With an expected €8.4 billion to be spent by Irish people on products from international websites this year, the government must ensure that every business in every Irish town has the appropriate supports to be able to set up and sell online.
“Enterprise financial supports have historically been withheld from the retail sector for fear of displacement. Increasingly that’s not the case as retail is now an international experience for many people through the internet.
“Indeed, if the government were visionary, “virtual towns” could be pioneered under the auspices of the Local Enterprise Office. Local retailers could be systematically given an E- commerce platform. Our retail landscape has rapidly changed and the government need to act to reflect this reality and ensure that Irish business is best positioned to survive and thrive.”