Source: Leah Farrell via

Retailers to meet with Met Éireann following claims that weather warnings are crippling business

Christmas trade is similar to that of last year.

HIGH VAT RATES as well as weather warnings meant that retail spending has become stagnant and stayed the same as 2017, according to a business group. 

Retail Excellence, the country’s largest retail representative body, finished its second phase of its two-part retail industry Christmas trading statement.

Following consultation with over 300 retailers, the body found that taxation was one of the main reasons for the stagnation. 

Retail Excellence said the Government needs to reduce business costs and the headline VAT rate of 23% if retailers are to compete in what is now a global marketplace. It also said that it will meet with Met Éireann in the New Year to discuss the negative impact weather alerts have on footfall.

It is normal for footfall to dissipate by 12% on a bad weather day, the declines doubled when Met Éireann issue an alert, according to the group.     

David Fitzsimons, Group Chief Executive, Retail Excellence said: “Our team has spent the past week gathering trading data from over three hundred retailers nationwide. The most common comment from retailers this year is that the weather alert issued by met Eireann pertaining to weather conditions last Saturday was at best alarmist.

The last five days to Christmas Eve have traded well with the extra day an added bonus and the psychology of having three full shopping days before Christmas Day, when most people were on annual leave, did have a very positive impact on footfall and spending. However the retail environment this Christmas has been very challenging with most sectors recording little change from the same period in 2017.

While trade might be at the same level as last year, Tesco Ireland revealed the most popular grocery items that are set to be snapped up in the final hours of trading as Christmas Day draws nearer.

Historically, last minute items were once dominated by phone credit, batteries and sellotape purchases, but this year’s stats show that shoppers are sticking with traditions with treat and seasonal items such as soft drinks and snacks.

The top three most in-demand items are soft drinks, crisps/snacks and milk.

Tesco is also urging shoppers to cut down on household waste by using leftover vegetables to make a vegetable soup. 

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