Friday, September 28 12:07:42
Business group, ISME has warned the Government that their lack of policies means that the retail sector faces "annihilation" in the face of the recession and an increase in consumer uncertainty.
The Association said that thousands of jobs will continue to be at risk for the foreseeable future, unless serious action is taken to address issues impacting on the sector, particularly the rising costs to business.
According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, "While the monthly figures show a slight increase, today's figures confirm that retail sales are down almost 25pc since 2007, with little sign of improvement and the sector facing annihilation unless the Government recognise the valuable contribution that retail makes to the economy. The current trend in sales, together with the high costs imposed on retailers is unsustainable, with the resultant closure of shops and subsequent job losses".
ISME called for the immediate establishment of the long awaited Retail Strategy Group; Government action on commercial rates, unrealistic rents, uncompetitive labour costs and tax-laden transport costs and a cut in the standard VAT rate.
"The Government must realise the importance of retailers who have a strong commitment to sourcing Irish fresh food and act as the channel to market for Irish food produce. Added to this the employment in the sector is almost a quarter of a million. Policies must be introduced to support one of the most significant contributors to the economy. We need the immediate formation of a Retail Strategy Group to address the risks to the sector and the Government to implement immediate policies to tackle the cost base, in order to secure the 250,000 jobs in the Retail industry," concluded Fielding.