Morning business news - August 16

Friday 16 August 2013 09.03
Morning business news - August 16
Morning business news - August 16

Online retail sales across Europe are predicted to double over the next five years according to a new report from market research firm Mintel.

It puts the value of the sector at €166 billion based on 2012 figures. By the end of this year sales will hit €188 billion and will be worth more than €320 billion annually by 2018.

Within that Ireland is forecast to be one of the fastest growing markets.

Sheila Buckley, head of industry group Etail Excellence Ireland, said online retail is estimated to be growing by 20% a year in the country at present.

“Irish businesses have stronger growth than their European counterparts and that has doubled since 2008”, she said.

She said rising sales and rising conversions – which is the number of website visitors who make a purchase – show a much greater intent amongst Irish consumers to shop online.

“The role that multi-devices – such as smartphones and tablets – have to play has been a significant favtor in this area,” Ms Buckley said.

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The Irish Software Association says four out of five Irish technology firms plan to recruit new staff in the coming quarter.

But, according to a survey it has undertaken, over half of Irish IT companies are finding difficulty filling the vacancies they have.

The survey found 85% of Irish IT companies are seeing their revenues rise as a result of increased international business.

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Businessman Tom Roche and his family will share a windfall of almost €40 million from investment firm NTR.

The goes by the initials NTR to reflect its previous incarnation as National Toll Roads. It has gained High Court approval to distribute €100 million to investors from its share capital.

The Roche family, with a shareholding of 39.6%, will be the biggest beneficiaries.

It's the second big cash distribution for NTR in the past five years. In 2008 it paid out €118 million to shareholders following the sale of its stake in wind energy company Airtricity and the West Link Toll Bridge.

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Facebook is trialling a new tool that it hopes will make it easier for users to make purchases through the social network's retail partners.

The new service will allow users to register payment information with Facebook - yet more personal information to add to their substantial database.

That would then be used to fill in payment forms as required by retailers who partner with Facebook and fast-track payment.

The service will initially be tested by US menswear retailer Jackthreads.