WHILE some shops have had Christmas window displays on show, even already, for what seems like a ridiculously long time, the shopping season only gets going in earnest now as we head into December. And, time enough too!
Every year, we read about the importance of supporting local businesses and, with each passing year, it gets more important as jobs and local economies need to be protected from the damage done to them by online shopping and people going to cities to shop in the big multiples.
This Friday, November 29th, was designated ‘Green Friday’ here – in the United States it is ‘Black Friday,’ the day after Thanksgiving – as Irish retailers aim to take a leaf from their American counterparts and turn it to their advantage. Backed by trade associations, including the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, Retail Excellence and Chambers Ireland, the Green Friday campaign is asking people to think of their local economy, support jobs and help nurture the country's creative community, manufacturers and service providers by buying Irish.
It is being led by Blarney lady Marian O'Gorman, CEO of retail group Kilkenny, who says that, with Brexit uncertainty and trade tariffs lingering, now – more than ever – we need to reawaken people to the significance of buying Irish and shopping locally. It is hoped the ‘Green Friday’ idea will influence shoppers’ purchasing decisions far beyond the designated date.
The concept is also being backed by the Small Firms Association, whose director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, said that, ‘if each adult spent just €20 extra in small local businesses this Christmas, this would amount to an injection of over €73m for small firms and would have a huge, positive impact on local jobs and the vibrancy of town and village centres.’
Every €10 spent locally on Irish products generates more than €40 of benefit to the local community in terms of employment. And, remember, the retail sector employs more people than any other sector in the Irish economy.