Budget blues in December pushes annual consumer spending down by as much as 7%, according to the National Retail Industry Alliance, who argue the Government’s VAT tax take would rise significantly by moving the budget to February.
The National Retail Industry Alliance, representing over 17,656 retail stores employing more than 200,511 people, believes changing the timing of the budget announcements to traditionally weaker consumer spending months such as February or November could boost sales by as much as 3% annually, with a knock-on Vat windfall for the Exchequer.
The call from the alliance follows a survey of 208 retail company members throughout Ireland, who operate 824 stores and employ 11,200 workers.
The survey found that:
* 88% of these retailers reported a December budget negatively impacts consumer sentiment and Christmas trading volumes.
* The majority, 51%, report that the December budget is causing a decline of over 7% in sales volumes.
* 39% say the December budget is causing a decline of 4%-7% in sales volumes
An alliance spokesperson said: “The timing of the budget in December is having a very negative effect on the retail industry. Equally damaging are the weeks of speculation preceding the budget.”
“As a result, annual sales volumes are being reduced by over 7%. This is causing retail jobs losses, putting many retailers in a precarious position, and others out of business. The retail industry employs over 200,000 in Ireland.”
“We are calling on the Government to either announce all major budgetary changes in November or else to reschedule the budget to February.”
The National Retail Industry Alliance is made up of the Association of Craft Butchers of Ireland, the Booksellers Association, Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, Independent Shoe Retailers Association, Independent Sports Retailers Alliance, Irish Association of Health Stores, Irish Hardware and Building Materials Association, Irish Pharmacy Union, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, National Off-licence Association, Retail Excellence Ireland and Retail Jewellers of Ireland.
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