133 retailers have been approved for a total of €5m in Government funding, through the third round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme.

The funding is aimed at retailers who already have an online presence, but want to reach a wider customer base - and boost their online sales.

292 applications were received, with 68% of the successful applicants located outside of Dublin.

The retailers will receive funding ranging from €14,080 to €40,000.

The average grant value is €37,500 and covers up to 80% of project costs.

"We know that consumers are keen to support their local retailers when shopping instore and online, and these grants will help businesses to really maximise the opportunities in the ecommerce market," said Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English.

"The economic value of operating in the ecommerce space and its convenience for customers has come to the fore since the onset of Covid-19 and the Online Retail Scheme will help companies improve and maximise their digital sales potential," he added.

Geoghegan's department store in Navan is one of the retailers set to receive funding through the scheme.

Siobhan Geoghegan, Managing Director said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong online presence for the business.

"This scheme has enabled us to accelerate our online plans, allowing us to bring our excellent customer service from 70 years of retail experience online.

"We are excited to continue building on our digital offering to further complement and evolve the business in the future," she said.

Ross O'Colmain, Department Manager, Construction, Timber, Cleantech and Consumer, Enterprise Ireland said the grants through this scheme are being used by retailers to upgrade their systems to improve their digital presence and to become more competitive in the virtual marketplace.

"This is helping to broaden their customer base and grow sales with some companies reporting that they are recruiting extra staff as result.

"Ultimately, retailers who are investing in their online presence will be more resilient and better able to take advantage of evolving market opportunities," he said.

The Online Retail Scheme was open to Irish-based retailers with a physical store and a pre-existing online presence who employ 10 or more people.

In addition, the scheme focuses on retailers predominantly selling products to individual consumers as opposed to those selling mainly to business customers.

Grants can be used to fund fees for service providers, develop and implement a digital strategy supported by in-house training and enhance the retailer's website.

The scheme is in addition to the Trading Online Voucher Scheme by the Local Enterprise Offices that offers funding of €2,500 to businesses of up to 10 employees.

The 133 retailers awarded funding, operate across a broad spectrum of sectors including jewellery, fashion, sports, homeware and furniture, healthcare, electrical goods and equipment.