Retail Ireland is predicting an increase in consumer spending of 2% this year, with 2014 marking the start of a meaningful recovery in the retail sector.
The Ibec group said, however, said that intense competition meant many retailers were only just surviving. It warned against any increase in business costs and called on government to cut income tax to boost spending and stimulate activity in the domestic economy.
The Ibec group made its predictions ahead of the Retail Ireland MasterCard Annual Conference, which takes place in Dublin today. Opened by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the event will feature speakers including Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, President of EuroCommerce, and former Executive Director, Tesco; Garry Lyons, Chief Innovation Officer and Head of Labs, Mastercard; and Shane Daly, Head of Retailer Services at Nielsen Ireland.
"As the largest private sector employer, retail is crucial to Ireland's economic revival," said Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam. "Not only does it generate employment in its own right, it is also hugely important for our agriculture sector, with retailers spending €5 billion annually on Irish food and drink products.
"A thriving retail sector will generate billions in tax revenue for the Exchequer and thousands of jobs right across the country."