One retail outlet closing every day amid warning of 32,000 job losses

A RETAIL outlet is closing on average every day amid warnings 32,000 more jobs will be lost in the sector.

According to figures compiled by 30 retail outlets closed last month compared with 21 in June and 11 in May.

Retail Excellent Ireland (REI) estimates that the rate of closures in the sector will increase over the coming months.

It said 40,000 jobs have already been lost in the retail sector and it expects 32,000 more jobs to go over the next nine months.

David Fitzsimons of REI said he is not surprised by the figures adding that things have been “dire” for a long time.

Retail sales figures have declined for 16 consecutive months, but added that members are reporting a slight pick-up.

Retail sales figures due to be released today will give a further indication of activity in the sector.

Mr Fitzsimons said the pharmacy sector will suffer from a series of closures over the coming year as outlets deal with falling sales.

REI estimates that 5,000 jobs will be lost in this sector over the coming year.

Other sectors suffering include fashion, footwear and homewear.

On a bright note, stores located at the border have seen an average 30% increase in sales as a result of Tesco’s campaign and the opening of IKEA in Dublin.

Mr Fitzsimons said change needs to happen to help the industry recover.

“It’s naive for the Government to bring out the budget in December as that is our busiest time,” said Mr Fitzsimons.

“There needs to be a reduction in the minimum wage and also the VAT rate,” he added.

He said wage rates in the Republic are 39% more expensive than wage rates in the North. “In real terms this adds over 6% extra on to all Irish retail prices.”

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