New steps to address cost challenges welcome, but much more required – Retail Ireland

May 15, 2024

Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector, today said new measures announced by government to address major employment cost increases were a welcome acknowledgement of the scale of the challenges facing the sector. However, the group said further significant measures will be needed in the budget, along with a fundamental revision of the timeline for the introduction of planned government-initiated cost increases.

Retail Ireland Director Arnold Dillon said:

“There is a new appreciation that the scale of cost increases hitting many retail businesses is simply too much to bear. The additional allocation of the Increased Cost of Doing Business grant to the retail sector and the adjustment to the PRSI threshold is positive, but is a first step. A fresh approach from Government is required.

“The Government’s own report acknowledges that exposed retail businesses are facing into employment costs increases of up to 37% in the coming years. Meaningful additional supports to safeguard jobs and businesses during this period are needed. To effectively reach the companies most affected, this should take the form of a targeted PRSI rebate. The affordability of all government-initiated cost increases must be robustly tested before there is any further move to introduce them.

“Retail businesses are always working to improve the conditions of their employees and have invested many millions in training and development, improving retail career paths and making the sector a more attractive place to work, and this will continue. However, costs need to be sustainably managed if businesses are to survive and thrive.”