Retail Excellence, the largest representative body for the retail industry in Ireland, has said it is clear this is “not a Budget for business” and has warned that more needs to be done to assist small retailers as we emerge from the pandemic.
Speaking today, Duncan Graham, managing director of Retail Excellence, commented, “This is not a Budget for business. While we welcome support from the Government in the form of an extension of wage supports until April, as well as measures to tackle the increasing cost of living, we are disappointed that we have not seen additional supports such as online grants for businesses, particularly those with fewer than ten employees who are in greatest need of assistance."
“The retail industry is thankfully up and running again, however retailers have significant legacy debt along with rising energy costs which will prove to be challenging and have not been fully addressed by this Budget. We have seen an extension of the commercial rates waiver, but it is worrying that this is not universal,” he said.
'Clearer Plan Needed'
Graham said that a clearer plan was needed to tackle the number of retail workers still availing of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).
“We still have approximately 15,500 retail workers on the PUP, and we need to see a robust plan to get these people back to work to address staff shortages. We need to see a plan for the warehousing of tax but also details of how that will be repaid,” he added.
Shipping Costs Continues To 'Cast A Long Shadow'
He added that Brexit and rising shipping costs continued to cast a long shadow over the economy which would have a major impact on the retail industry.
“It is becoming harder and more expensive to source product from overseas which is having a huge effect on retailers," he said.
The Government supports announced today will help, but it is a fact that many retailers will continue to suffer and face liquidation due to the extreme pressure they are under with regard to costs, debt and staffing issues,” he concluded.