Retail Ireland today (24 August) launched its Budget 2019 submission in which it called on Government to introduce measures to address the continued erosion of the retail sectors’ competitive position, while providing additional supports to help address the emerging labour shortage in the sector.
“The Irish retail sector has returned to growth in recent months and the persistent gap between sales value and sales volume growth has begun to close," Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, said.
"Nevertheless, Irish retailers are coming under increasing pressure from rising input costs such as labour, insurance, rates and utilities. Such costs have now become a survival and competitiveness issue for many Irish retailers. The State has played a significant role in driving input costs upwards. Therefore, they must ensure that no additional costs or tax burdens are placed on the Irish retail sector in Budget 2019.”
Emerging Labour Shortage
In a statement the Ibec group that represents the sector highlighted that it is calling on the Government to address the emerging labour shortage in the sector arising from the drive towards full employment in the State, and the pressure this is placing on labour costs and wages in the sector.
“One way of addressing the current tightening in the retail labour market is through the provision of additional supports to the sector in the areas of further education and training," Burke added.
"Only by upskilling and developing those entering the sector will the industry be able to retain key talent and access the required skillsets in the future as the sector continues to modernise and embrace the opportunities presented by the online world.
“At present State funding for in work training supports are limited, but we believe Government must take the opportunity presented in Budget 2019 to further invest in programmes such as Skillnets and the emerging modern apprenticeships.
Retail Ireland outlined that it has been working in recent months with the Apprenticeship Council to develop an Apprenticeship in Retail Supervision which will commence in 2019.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.