Introduction

Retail Ireland is the leading voice of Irish retailers and works to represent the sector's interests to Government, media and all other stakeholders.

It is our strongly held view that a strong, vibrant retail sector is a positive, not only for those associated with the sector, but also for consumers, industry partners and the wider Irish economy.

The retail sector is Ireland's largest private sector employer – and the most geographically diverse. We employ over 280,000 people, in every city, town and village, right across the country. This is more than twice that of Ireland’s second largest sector, financial services. As such, retail plays a crucial role in stimulating economic growth and enterprise, sustaining employment and supporting lively and vibrant communities across Ireland.

Given the significant economic contribution made by the Irish retail industry, it is essential that the sector’s ability to grow, create jobs and deliver value and choice to Irish consumers is not hindered by costs associated with an ever increasing regulatory burden and rising business costs whether - labour costs, insurance or escalating local authority charges. Retail Ireland is committed to working with Government and other stakeholders to address these issues.

We must also work to future proof our sector by continually monitoring and advising our members of shifting industry trends, while also seeking to provide the best possible education and training supports for the 280,000 working within it. Only by doing this will we ensure that we are ready for, and in a position to meet, the many challenges that lie ahead.

Against this backdrop, it is critical that our members and the whole retail industry are aligned around our future vision set out in our strategy document ‘Shaping the future of Irish retail 2020’. Grounded around four key pillars - Competitiveness, Confidence, Careers and Community, our vision is to foster a thriving, world leading retail industry that makes a positive impact on customers, creates a rewarding environment for employees, contributes significantly to the economy and enhances community life throughout the country.

At a time of rapid change, structural transformation and growing economic uncertainty, it has never been more important to have a clear vision and voice for the industry. Together with our members, Retail Ireland will work to achieve this future vision for the sector.

Willie O’Byrne
Managing Director, BWG Foods
Chairman, Retail Ireland