Retail Ireland today made available its new strategy document, 'Shaping the Future of Irish Retail - a Strategy for Irish Retail 2017-2020’.
Developed by Retail Ireland, the report is the most comprehensive strategy developed for the sector to date, and incorporates the views and sentiments from stakeholders across the entire retail ecosystem including retailers, policy makers, employee representatives and consumers groups.
Speaking at the launch was Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, who congratulated Retail Ireland on the publication and the importance of the retail sector to the Irish economy.
The report highlights that retail is the country’s biggest private sector employer, employing 280,000 people, and that the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders will be required if the sector’s competitiveness is to be safeguarded in the years ahead. It looks at the significant new competitive challenges the industry is facing and the various ways to approach the years to come.
Launching the report, Thomas Burke, Director of Retail Ireland stated: “Few sectors were as hard hit by the economic collapse and subsequent recession in Ireland, which saw sales hit hard and over 40,000 jobs lost. While the sector has enjoyed a sustained recovery it continues to undergo rapid change, structural transformation and growing economic uncertainty. It will be critical to support the sector’s competitiveness, ability to grow, sustain jobs and deliver value to Irish consumers in the coming years. The strategy we’ve launched today provides a blue print to deliver on this.
“For the first time, we have collaborated with all of our stakeholders across policy, consumer, employee, and retail groups to create a vision for the industry that will enable us to become a thriving, world leading sector by 2020,” he concluded.
Conor Whelan, Chairman of Retail Ireland and Managing Director of Eason Group said that the sector is undergoing an unprecedented structural shift at present. “The results of our report show that despite a considerable softening of sentiment since the Brexit vote, Irish retailers remain optimistic about the future, with the majority having ambitions to develop, invest in and expand their businesses in the next three years. In fact, 85% of retailers surveyed said they intend to invest in people and careers in the next three to five years and 92% are planning to invest in new technology and refurbishment.”
“Irish retailers are showing a great degree of adaptability in response to shifting consumer demand, and are transitioning towards an ‘omni-channel’ offering for shoppers, by embracing new technologies and building new in-store experiences. This will be critical for them in the coming years as increasing number of Irish people shop online and up to 75% of line transactions go to foreign websites, which negatively impacts Irish jobs, businesses and the State’s tax revenue.”
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