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Tag Archives: retail

Ennis Chamber survey reveals business concerns over Covid-19

A NEW survey carried out by Ennis Chamber of Commerce has provided a localised view of how businesses across Clare have been impacted by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Business Survey, conducted in conjunction with Clare FM, also gauges reaction to the suggestion that the town centre be pedestrianised to facilitate social distancing. Ennis Chamber CEO, Margaret O’Brien said the response reveals just how stressed and anxious business owners are. “Although we now have a government roadmap for reopening our economy,” she said, “the level of uncertainty evident from the responses by business owners in County Clare, suggests that those fears, rooted in uncertainty, are set to continue. Shops, cafés, pubs, hotels, hairdressers and beauticians now know when they can open, but that knowledge does little to quell the fear that co-existing with COVID-19 restrictions could mean trading to break even, as opposed to turning a profit.” The strongest sectoral response to the survey, came from retail, representing 42% of all respondents, with hospitality and tourism accounting …

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Ennis fashion retailers rising to the challenges of Covid-19

THE personalised, customer-focused shopping experience that has become synonymous with the town of Ennis is still continuing despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic has resulted in retail closures throughout the county, with businesses increasingly focusing their efforts online in a bid to meet these new unprecedented challenges. The last few weeks have highlighted the importance of having an online shopping presence, according to Gwen Culligan of the County Boutique in Ennis. While Patrick Burke’s is set to launch a personal shopping service utilising popular apps so people can purchase while still maintaining social distancing. The County Boutique launched its website last year allowing people to buy the latest looks from the comfort of their own home. Gwen tells us they were “incredibly lucky” to already be online when the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced. “We’re selling every day at the moment. I had been spending some time over the last few months putting things on the site, but I’ve been …

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East Clare retailers hope for ‘shop local’ business boost

BUSINESSES across rural East Clare have been pulling out all of the stops to support their customer base in a time of crisis, and are determined to keep services going in the midst of the Covid-19 restrictions. Even before the Coronavirus hit, many communities in the east of the county struggled with social isolation, meaning local businesses are a lifeline. But, with long commutes to work another facet of rural life, small retailers can find themselves overlooked and losing out to the big multiples in larger towns. Against the backdrop of the lock-down and strict controls on travel and social distancing, some smaller outlets have experienced a boost to their business and are hopeful that shopping locally could become more popular in the long-term. In Tulla, Kate Murphy who runs the popular Holly Tree Café on Church Road in Tulla, was facing into the prospect of long-term closure as the lock-down took effect. Now, with a little imagination, creativity and …

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Huge level of commercial vacancies in Kilrush

THE latest GeoView commercial vacancy report has found that Kilrush is the town in Ireland with the second-highest rate of unused commercial buildings. In the last quarter of 2018, the Kilrush vacancy rate was 26.6%, with only Ballybofey in Donegal having a higher one. Kilrush declined since the last quarter of 2017, with the vacancy rate going up by nearly 2%. It is more than twice the Irish average of 13.2%. On a miserable Tuesday afternoon, few of the businesses in the centre of Kilrush were very busy but clothes shop owner Pat ‘Rico’ Clancy said things have been getting better. “It’s February. It’s not going to be busy anyway in February but, year on year, it’s going up for the last three or four years. There are more people coming through but people are cuter when they’re doing they’re shopping; they shop when you have sales.” His family has been in business in Kilrush for more than 150 years …

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Call for village ‘health checks’

A CO-ORDINATED and planned approach is needed to regenerate rural towns and villages throughout Clare, according to RGDATA director general, Tara Buckley. Her comments came after a Clare Champion survey of retail outlets has revealed numerous villages in West, North and East Clare no longer have a grocery shop. Several towns and villages in the county face the classic “chicken and egg” scenario – declining populations mean the numbers aren’t there to sustain certain rural services, and new people will not come unless these services are already in place. RGDATA is involved in a pilot project with the Irish Heritage Council to complete a health check in 10 towns throughout the country. Ms Buckley believes one of the best ways to tackle rural decline is to complete a town and village health check and devise a strategic plan to address its challenges and opportunities. In an interview with The Clare Champion, she acknowledges this approach may not benefit all rural …

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Retailers celebrate a fruitful Christmas

WITH the economy apparently thriving, Christmas was quite positive for local retailers. On Wednesday morning as they reopened their doors, several traders told The Clare Champion things had gone well. Although Christmas Eve hadn’t been particularly hectic, busy earlier trading had more than made up for that, said Patrick Bourke. “We had two record days, the Friday and Saturday, December 22 and 23. The busiest days in a long, long time. That helped matters and it was part of the reason why Christmas Eve was back a bit, there was so much spent on the Friday and Saturday.” His store in Kilrush performed well, he said. “Kilrush had a very good Christmas. It came later in Kilrush than it did in Ennis but it turned out well, there is no doubt about that. This year, the emigrant factor wasn’t quite as noticeable as other years. We had the wedding end of it alright, with a lot of people back for …

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Retail sales on the rise

Retail Excellence, the largest retail industry representative body, has welcomed the 3.3% annualised increase in value in retail sales. Today (Tuesday) the Central Statistics Office (CSO) published its February 2017 retail sales index, which showed that, although the volume of non-motor retail sales rose by 1.2% compared to January 2017, the value of these annualised sales increased by 3.3%. Lorraine Higgins, of Retail Excellence, said, “We welcome this figure and the upward trend but would warn against being too optimistic. We have been contacted by many members in recent days who are experiencing very negative trading conditions. Some retailers are reporting like for like declines of upwards of 30% against March 2016”. “It is clear that consumer sentiment has been negatively impacted due to concerns about the impact of Brexit. The primary income in over 100,000 homes comes from a company which is dependent of export to the UK market (agri, food, drink). We also believe that there has been …

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Shannon Airport seeks retail partner

By Owen Ryan SHANNON Airport has launched a tender process to secure a partner to operate its historic travel retail outlet. The Shannon Group has also announced that it will rename its store Shannon Duty Free, the original name for the travel retail offering at Shannon, which was the global birthplace of duty free. It will happen when the current service agreement for the space, which has been known as The Loop for the last few years, winds up in June. The shop is currently operated by Shannon Airport Authority, under a transitional agreement with Aer Rianta International, following Shannon’s separation from the State Airport’s group at the start of 2013. However Shannon Group is now seeking a joint venture partner for the travel retail business and it formally advertised on the Moodies Report, the information website for the global travel retail sector. Announcing the decision to seek a joint venture, Shannon Group CEO Neil Pakey said; “In keeping with …

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