About Ireland’s retail sector
The retail sector is Ireland’s largest employer, with over 250,000 people employed. This is 14.5% of Ireland’s total workforce.
Retail accounts for over 10% of Ireland's GDP.
Ireland’s retail sector is made up of predominantly small, indigenous companies, with approximately 44,000 active wholesale and retail enterprises in Ireland
86% of retailers of have less than ten employees and 86% are Irish‐owned.
Weak domestic demand: The biggest challenge to recovery in the retail sector is weak domestic demand. Consumer spending has fallen every year since 2008 and IBEC predicts that it will fall by a further 2% in 2012. Until we reverse this trend, retail will suffer.
Unemployment: The sector has experienced significant job losses since 2008, with employment declining by 47,000 from a peak of 314,000. Job creation will depend significantly on wider economic growth and increases in consumer spending.
Falling sales: Sales have fallen sharply, declining by 30% since their peak in 2008. The largest declines have occurred in furniture and lighting (‐55%), motor trades (‐50%), hardware (‐39%) and electrical goods (‐38%). In 2012, retail sales have fallen by 2%.
Declining consumer sentiment: The KBC/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index reached a five year high in August 2012. Since then, however, it has fallen back as consumers worry about their finances.
For more information, visit http://www.retailireland.ie.