Retail Excellence, the largest retail body in Ireland, has warned that major intervention is needed from the Government on energy costs in the forthcoming Budget to keep businesses’ lights on this Christmas. The warning came as 400 retailers gather today at the Retail Excellence ‘Retail and Digital Retreat’ in Carton House Hotel, which Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English is also attending. Speaking today, Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence, stated, “Retailers of all sizes are currently dealing with unprecedented energy bills which are threatening thousands of livelihoods around the country. It is critically important that we see a major intervention from the Government in the forthcoming Budget to ensure businesses can keep the lights on this Christmas.”
Cap On Energy CostsHe said that the Government needed to cap energy costs as a priority.
“Our members don’t like uncertainty, and a cap on energy costs would ensure that retailers could at least plan for the coming months with the sure knowledge that they won’t be facing even more price hikes," Graham said.
"If we don’t see an energy price cap, then we will certainly experience a poor trading season for the third Christmas in a row. Many of our members will not be able to sustain that pressure.”
VAT ReductionHe said that the Government should also consider a reduction in the VAT rate and added that staffing was still a concern in the retail industry.
“We have been calling on the Government to loosen visa restrictions for some time now to attract foreign workers back to Ireland after losing so many during COVID. This would represent a significant boost for the retail industry at a time we need it most.”He added that ongoing support was needed to help businesses transition to online trading, as well as funding to help retailers become more sustainable.