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Here's one hard-hit Irish industry finally coming back from the recession - hardware

But growth in Dublin is outstripping growth in rural areas.

Image: Tool belt via Shutterstock

HARDWARE, DIY, GARDEN and home improvement merchants are experiencing their first boost to business since the beginning of the recession, according to a survey published today.

The industry, which employs more than 20,000 people throughout Ireland, is also seeing an increasingly positive outlook about the year ahead.

A survey conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes for the Hardware Association Ireland (HAI), found that business performance had almost doubled since last year, with 52% of merchants reporting an improvement over the previous 12 months, as opposed to 27% last year.

More than half of those polled expected business to be better in the next 12 months, whereas only 30% felt equally optimistic this time last year.

However, HAI President Patrick Kelly was measured in his response to the survey, pointing out the devastating effect of Ireland’s construction crisis on the hardware industry.

While it is encouraging to see the first signs of an uplift in activity in our sector, it is from a low level due to the harsh trading conditions that have existed since around 2008.
And there is a clear need to rebalance economic activity with a greater focus on rural Ireland.
While there is a need to stimulate consumer spending nationally there is also an imperative to energise rural economic conditions with the inevitable benefit of increasing employment.

Notably, fewer hardware merchants (13%) had felt the need to seek support from lending institutions this year, where 21% had sought loans last year.

Read: There’s enough land zoned for housing to build 500,000 new homes>

There are three times more jobs in construction than a year ago>

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Dan MacGuill

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