Government’s message must be measured and unambiguous.
Retailers’ cost base must be decreased.
Recent PRSI increase should be reversed.
ISME, Thursday 28th August 2014.
At the release of the CSO, Retail Sales for July figures today (28th August), ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association demanded more from the Government than madcap calls for more wages by junior ministers, more interested in vain popularity than economic leadership. The Association called for a more prudent and wise policy to encourage business to invest and consumers to spend as the retail sector slowly recovers.
Retail Sales figures for July show an increase of 8.2% in volume and 5.5% in value in the month. There has been an increase of 8.6% in volume and 5.9% in value in the year. When motor sales are excluded sales volume was up 3.1% and sales value was up 1% in the year.
Commenting, ISME CEO, Mark Fielding said, “The answer to the current slow growth in sales is to nurture consumer confidence, while keeping an eye on underlying costs, which will lead to business growth, resulting in new jobs and increased tax revenue. This will be achieved through measured messages from senior ministers on the broad budget plans and a commitment to cost curtailment in the public sector and attendant charges”.
The main issues are:
Excessive retail business costs.
The increase in employers’ PRSI on lower pay.
Surge in Shadow Economy.
Introduction of a Code of Practice, with an ombudsman for the retail sector.
Review of the effect of the abolition of the Groceries Order on prices.
Commercial rates, development contributions and unrealistic rents.
Town centre revitalization.
Social welfare anomalies and inflexibilities.
Lack of bank credit availability for retail SMEs.
Sector specific training.
“Despite the many and varied economic challenges, retailers are preparing for a positive turn in the economy, with many planning new investment. Loose talk about unsustainable wage increases will not help the situation, however a reduction in the employer’s PRSI would give an immediate fillip to the sector and help create new jobs”, concluded Fielding.