Retail in depth

The Irish retail industry is primarily made up of small, family owned, indigenous companies
  • There are approximately 37,400 active wholesale and retail enterprises in Ireland located in almost every community, right across the country
  • 85% have less than 10 employees
  • 50% hired more than 250 people

Irish retail is the country's largest industry and largest private sector employer
  • The wholesale and retail sector is Ireland’s largest employer with 280,000 jobs accounting for 14% of total employment
  • Roughly 72% of those employed in the sector are based outside of Dublin
  • This is much higher than ICT and financial services where less than 50% of the workforce is outside of Dublin
  • Across the regions retail accounts for anywhere between 12%-15.5% of employment (highest in South East and lowest in the Mid-West)

Retail sales growth has struggled since early 2008
  • In 2016, there was a notable reduction in the pace of retail sales growth during the entire second half of the year, down from 3% in the period January to June, to 1% in the July to December period

Falling prices continue to threaten retail's recovery
  • Latest data from the CSO's Consumer Price Index shows that inflation remains in negative territory with average consumer prices down 0.2% for the first six months of 2017
  • As prices continue to drop, the cost of doing business continues to escalate - rates, rents, local services and wage increases are combining to add significant pressure on retailers' margins

That said, there are finally some reasons to be positive...
  • Gross disposable income was up 1.8% in the first half of 2016, having grown 5.3% in 2015.
  • The consumer economy is growing again – Total spending by households on goods and services was €95.7 billion in 2016.

Online shopping rising
  • In the past 10 years the number of people who shop online has increased from 19% 10 years ago to just over 50% today.
  • Recent data from the central bank shows that the total value of online purchases in 2015 were €9.1 billion- but not all of this is accounted for by retail.

Retail continues to play a vital role in the Irish economy
  • In 2015, retail sales grew bringing the total to just under €30 billion, accounting for approximately 12% of GDP.