Sinead O'Rourke, Amy Fletcher, Ellen Timmons and Aine O'Rourke from Mountrath CS at the Portlaoise Christmas Market. Pic Alf Harvey
Shoppers in Laois, Leinster and across the country are being urged to support local jobs and small businesses in their communities on ‘Small Business Saturday’ on December.
The Small Firms Association Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, said Christmas is a crucial time for retail businesses, but much of the Christmas spend will go to large stores or online retailers. He said online purchases for 2017 are expected to reach €16 billion by year end.
While this is hitting local business and jobs, the SFA believe local people can play their part.
"If each adult spent just €20 extra in small businesses this Christmas, this would amount to an injection of almost €75 million for small Irish firms and would have a huge, positive impact on local jobs and the vibrancy of town and village centres.
“The first Saturday of December is traditionally a busy shopping day and consumers should use this weekend as an opportunity to focus on buying Irish and supporting their local businesses, as the Christmas celebrations can add a major economic impetus to the country, to small businesses and help maintain jobs,” he said.
He said small business must take every opportunity to offer the widest possible range of goods at the most competitive prices if they are to attract as many Christmas shoppers as possible.
"Today’s shoppers are very value-conscious and, with prices down 8.4% in the last 36 months, there are great deals to be had in small businesses around the country,” Spollen-Behrens.
ISME say people should remember that retail employs more people in Ireland than any other sector of the economy.
"Consumers should think about this when making their Christmas shopping decisions, as this time of year is make or break for many small retailers. We are calling on consumers to shop locally in small businesses and buy Irish products. This way, shoppers, businesses and communities can all feel the Christmas cheer,”