RETAIL employs more people in Ireland than any other sector of the economy and, once again, the Small Firms Association (SFA) has urged consumers to think about this when making their Christmas shopping decisions. For many small retailers, this time of year is make or break time and we echo the call of the SFA to consumers to shop locally in small businesses and to buy Irish products.
The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) estimates that every €10 spent locally on Irish products can generate up to €24 benefit in the local economy. Buying goods that are produced, manufactured and sold locally helps support jobs in people’s locality.
Online shopping has done huge damage to conventional retailers and we have seen a frenzy of this in recent weeks with ‘Black Friday’ – the day after Thanksgiving – and the following ‘Cyber Monday’ gobbling up sales at this side of the Atlantic, having spread across from the United States, and forcing the big multiples here to stage such promotions in their stores too, thus taking more business away from our smaller local retailers.
It would be unrealistic to expect that people would do all their Christmas shopping in their home town as trips to the big city are part and parcel of the festive season for families and those unable or unwilling to do their shopping in retail premises will only shop online anyway. In spite of the general economic improvement of recent years, shops are still closing in towns locally, with West Cork losing most of its sports shops this year, for example. There is no use bemoaning their loss after they close; it’s a case of use ’em or lose ’em.
Anything that people can purchase in their locality, they should endeavour to do so. Purchases in local shops not only help maintain retail jobs, but suppliers’ jobs and ancillary jobs in places such as cafés that benefit from extra footfall.
Starting this week, The Southern Star is publishing a series of free magazines, showcasing the great value to be had locally in the various towns and villages across West Cork. We ask you to support our advertisers in whatever way you can to help maintain jobs in your locality.