Local independent family-owned shops are the best supporters of this country, investing €3.62bn annually in the economy and supporting 90,000 jobs.
This is one of the main findings in a report prepared by economist Jim Power for RGDATA, which represents 4,000 family-run retail outlets throughout the country.
It points out that the shops contribute more than €100m annually in commercial rates and invest €41m in local sponsorship every year.
“If you spend money in these local shops it is worth three times more to the local community,” said Mr Power.
“Every €100 spent in locally-owned shops results in an injection of €250 into the local economy,” he said.
People wanting to live in vibrant local communities should be supporting Irish-owned shops.
The report points out that many town centres in Britain and Ireland have been undermined by the increasing penetration of large multiples, particularly those situated in out-of-town locations.
Independent retailers will play their part in getting more people back living and shopping in our towns and villages but need supportive policies and initiatives from government.
In particular, local authorities and An Bord Pleanála must ensure that the town centre must retain primacy as the centre for retail, commercial and social activity.
The multiples account for 65% of the market and employ an estimated 35,000 but independent grocers similar in size to Lidl and Aldi supermarkets have twice as many workers.
Mr Power said family owned shops were major employers in local economies and had given many people their first job.
“They are the most significant employers in the retail sector with 89% being paid above the national minimum wage.”
The report was based on research carried out with RGDATA members who own shops, convenience stores, and supermarkets around Ireland.
There are around 5,000 independent retail grocery shops in the country and they account for more than a third of the retail grocery market in Ireland.
Almost half (47%) of the shops are first generation family-owned, 31% are second generation, 15% are third generation, and 7% are 4th generation or longer.
Eight out of 10 are open up to 15 hours a day, with 20% open between 15 and 24 hours.
Weekly turnover for 9% of stores is under €20,000 and just under 60% have turnover in excess of €50,000.
Over the past five years there has been an increasing focus on part-time workers, with the split between part-time and full-time now 50/50.
Average pay is around €23,000 per year. Just under half of employees (47%) have between five and ten years’ service, with almost one in five (17%) employed for over 10 years.
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