A new reports reveals that the retail sector suffered sales losses of more than 30% in some instances during the week of Storm Emma.

The report from Retail Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, said that after a strong start to 2018, retailers continued to struggle to make up for the lost sales which ran into the tens of millions of euros industry wide.

Retail Ireland said Storm Emma caused widespread disruption and closures over four key trading days - Thursday to Sunday. The storm also resulted in longer-term supply chain and consumer disruption which ran into a full week.

However, Storm Emma was also a leading factor in significant growth in both sales value and volume in the supermarkets and convenience stores sector in the first quarter of 2018, as consumers stocked up on essentials. 

Retail Ireland said that supermarkets' sales values increased by 4% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same quarter last year, and total sales volumes were 6% higher compared to the first quarter of 2017.

Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke said the Government should be complimented for its proactive response during Storm Emma.

"But retailers should also be praised for their resilience in ensuring shelves remained stocked with key staples and supply chains withstood pressures during a period of unprecedented demand," he added. 

Mr Burke said that retailers put the safety of their staff first and took the proactive decision to close stores as the country moved into "red weather warning territory".

Retail Ireland worked closely with the National Emergency Coordination Group over the course of the extreme weather and has called for an all of Government approach to ensure preparations are made now for the next such event.

Retail Ireland worked closely with the National Emergency Coordination Group over the course of the extreme weather and has called for an all of Government approach to ensure preparations are made now for the next such event.