While welcoming the increased Retail Sales figures for September, from the CSO, released today (4th November), ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association highlighted how more could be done to reduce costs on businesses.
The monthly figures show a decrease of 0.2% in volume and 0.4% in value. Year on year retail sales figures showed an increase of 3.8% in volume and 1.9% in value. When the motor trade is excluded, sales were 0.1% lower in volume and 1.3% higher in value compared with 2015.
ISME, CEO, Neil McDonnell said, “In our latest Government satisfaction survey, the retail sector is the least satisfied with the Government when it comes to business overheads. High costs in rents, local charges and insurance are undermining the great potential the SME sector has to offer. If these were reduced, SMEs would be in a better position to create employment; putting more people back to work, and more money back in people’s pockets, and the local economy.”
The main issues facing retailers are:
Very low margins, as evidenced by the CSO figures.
Negative cross border trade.
Excessive business costs such as insurance, rates, and development charges.
Lack of adequate broadband.
Social welfare anomalies and inflexibilities.
Insufficient bank credit availability for retail SMEs.
The surge in the Black Economy.
“The retail sector is vital to the Irish economy. It employs more than 275,000 people. The Government has the potential to increase this number if it tackles the cost base.” concluded McDonnell.