Retail Excellence, the largest retail body in Ireland, representing over 2,000 retail businesses, has expressed its deep disappointed with the Government’s decision to close all non-essential retail by moving the country to level 5.
In a statement, Duncan Graham, Managing Diector of Retail Excellence said: “Retailers have been contacting us throughout the day extremely concerned and upset at closing their business for 6 weeks at the most important trading period of the year.”
“‘Non-essential’ retailers generate over 70% of annual turnover over this quarter and these further restrictions will inevitably push many more businesses into insolvency,” he added.
Graham said: “This is a baffling decision in so many ways; Retailers have invested heavily in making premises safe this year and have been fully compliant with all government guidelines.”
“Many of the largest retailers in the country have reported less than 1% of their total employees testing positive for COVID-19 suggesting the lack of transmission in the retail workplace.”
Higher Infection Rates
Despite far higher infection rates, retailers in Northern Ireland continue to trade relatively normally compared to their counterparts in the Republic, the group noted.
No other European country has locked down retail in the way this government has done with retailers in Ireland.
Graham highlighted: “We estimate over 60,000 retail employees will lose their jobs as a result of these new measures joining the 30,000 retail workers who have already been laid off this year.”
“The anticipated six weeks closure, will create unprecedented pent up demand for the month of December, resulting in a frenzied shopping experience in the final weeks before Christmas,” he said.
There will be a massive upsurge in online shopping this year and we know that 70% of this is spent with retailers based out of the country.
According to Retail Excellence, retail stores are fully stocked for the Christmas period and failure to move this stock will create cash flow issues and impact payment to suppliers and other creditors.
Retail Excellence is calling on the government to provide the following;
A ‘crystal’ clear roadmap to reopening
That ecommerce, online retailing is totally unrestricted.
The TWSS is reintroduced with immediate effect.
Further supports are made available to retailers to help with legacy debts such as rent payments.
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