RGDATA’S Budget 2023 submission has called for emergency State supports for local community food retailers.
The submission, which is directly informed by feedback from members who operate 3,500 shops, convenience stores and supermarkets throughout Ireland, highlights the huge pressures that recent cost increases have placed on community- based retailers.
“All retailers are reporting that consumer spending in their stores has retracted as consumers tighten their belts – some estimating that consumers are spending up to 10% less year on year,” said Tara Buckley, director general, RGDATA.
“At the same time, input costs are racing ahead, with energy costs doubling year on year. Independent shopkeepers are also facing significant increases in labour costs, supplier costs, logistics costs, and the financial and red tape burden of a swathe of employment and sustainability regulatory changes.”
Range Of Measures
The RGDATA Budget submission calls for a range of measures to help support the sector through the current challenging operating environment.
These include a commitment from Government not to increase taxes on consumers and businesses in the next Budget, and the inclusion of the independent retail grocery sector in energy grant schemes and Green Transition Schemes.
RGDATA is also calling for a rebate scheme to offset the burden of increased energy costs on independent retail businesses.
It says that the rebate should be calculated at a minimum, to remit to shop owners the increased tax yield that the Exchequer has recovered from increased energy costs.
Given that energy costs have doubled (the State has doubled its tax take from retailers as a consequence), the submission says that the State should not be benefiting from energy inflation and should remit any gain back to retailers, who have a significant 24/7 reliance on electricity for lighting, refrigeration and air conditioning/heat.
Individual supermarkets have seen energy costs double from €200,000 per annum to €400,000 per annum and RGDATA says that this is ‘completely unsustainable’.