Businesses facing loss of sales and clean up costs

Updated / Monday, 5 Mar 2018 11:42

Lorraine Higgins, deputy CEO of Retail Excellence Ireland, tells Brian Finn that different sectors experienced varying degrees of disruption


As the thaw continues in most parts of the country following the heavy snowfall, retailers will be counting the cost of the weather disruption which saw many of them close their doors last Wednesday. Some businesses have still not reopened. 

Lorraine Higgins, deputy chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said different sectors experienced varying degrees of disruption. "The focus on grocery purchases meant that purchases in other sectors were postponed. Huge losses were incurred as a consequence of being closed for five days. It's the loss of sales, employee costs and general clean up costs that they are facing now," she explained.

Ms Higgins said retailers are now trying to encourage footfall back into their stores after several days of closures and some quiet days over the weekend. "Retailers who had an e-commerce capacity were advertising online quite heavily. It's been a difficult time for many sectors so I'd be encouraging people to go out and support retailers with a physical store presence and divert some of the spend from businesses overseas to retailers here."

She pointed out that the big winners from spending in the online sphere are overseas retailers that do not have a physical presence here. An estimated two thirds of spending online by Irish consumers ends up leaving the country. "Many discerning retailers with an online capacity here had sales of 15-20% to encourage people to spend online over the past few days. But that comes at the expense of heavy advertising," she said.

"What this points to is the need for retailers to have 'omnichannel strategies.' They're becoming increasingly important in light of the frequency of recent weather events," Lorraine Higgins concluded. 

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