Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Focus on retail: Buyers are back but inflation fears


With the COVID lockdown now expected to be a thing of the past, all retailers have their doors open to shoppers. However, the post-pandemic retail landscape has been hit by some unforeseen challenges, including labor shortage.

Last month, Accel Recruitment, a leading retail recruitment specialist, warned that retail could be the next industry to face a severe and damaging staffing crisis, similar to the labor shortage seen in the hospitality sector.

Aislin Lee, director of fashion and non-food at Accel Recruitment, said that “the number of employers with active retail job vacancies has now nearly tripled in the 12 months to February 2022, when it stood at 1,360 employers – 488 employers in February 2021.” Above this. “

Ms. Lee said that during the lockdown, thousands of workers decided to change careers or upskills in their current industry.

This is compounded by the fact that the industry missed the intake of fresh candidates by almost two years.

Several retailers based their research on Ireland’s Best Employers 2022 to suggest that companies in the sector are working harder to compete for workers and retain employees.

For shoppers, they have responded well to reopening, although some parts of retail are performing better than others.

When it comes to discretionary spending, last year ended strongly. Retail sales were up 12.3 percent in the last three months of 2021 compared to the last quarter of the previous year, according to a retail productivity review by Lobby Group Retail Excellence and Grant Thornton.

However, there are apprehensions that consumer spending will be impacted by inflation and the possibility of a hike in interest rates from July. Hopefully pandemic savings won’t result in continued spending as there will be buyers of an uncertain future.

Meanwhile, sales in the Irish grocery market fell to just under €2bn during the pandemic, but have contracted as consumers find other ways to spend their money.

Latest data from research firm Kantar shows sales of take-home grocery in Ireland fell by 7.2 pc in the 12 weeks to April 17 as life returned to normalcy after the pandemic.

Inflation is a significant issue, with almost a quarter of consumers saying they are already struggling to meet their needs while doing their weekly shop.

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