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Retail Excellence sets out three priorities to ensure speedy return for retail

Retail Excellence, the largest representative body for the retail sector in Ireland whose members employ 280,000 staff, has set out three policy pillars which it wants the Government to support as the sector looks to reopen for Christmas.

It says that the Government must meet its realistic and achievable demands if the industry is to recover in 2021.

Retail Excellence wants the Government to move in the coming 10 days to clarify its plans to reopen non-essential retail so that retailers can prepare for the crucial weeks of December. If Covid-19 case numbers continue to fall, the organisation believes an earlier re-opening of non-essential retail should be approved during this exceptionally busy period.

Retail Excellence says that retail has proven to be a safe environment for shoppers and retailers will be able to maintain this environment during this crucial period of the year.

Retail Excellence is calling for Government and landlord support on rent bills which have accrued while businesses have been in lockdown, and for Government support to promote the retail sector in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Speaking today, Duncan Graham, Managing Director of Retail Excellence, said: “This lockdown has been catastrophic for the retail sector. Our priority now is to look ahead to the end of this month and the earliest possible reopening of non-essential retail so that we can meet consumer demand and save our retail businesses. These policy pillars can provide the confidence we need to ensure a speedy reopening of the sector.”

Mr Graham said that, as a starting point, the Government must prioritise the reopening of the shops as soon as possible.  “A delayed reopening means fewer shopping days and that means busier shopping days.  There is a real logic to making sure we reopen non-essential retail as quickly as possible so we can effectively manage consumer demand in our shops and towns.”

He said that retailers also needed help with rents and other costs if they were to survive. “We have heard countless examples of landlords demanding full rents from retailers who have been devastated this year. If the Government does not support these businesses with adequate funding and support, retailers will suffer in 2021.”

Mr Graham said that retailers needed to see full co-operation from local authorities and city councils to help with the reopening process.  He also encouraged all shoppers to buy Irish during the festive season. “We want all shoppers to shop local, shop Irish, and support Irish jobs.”


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