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Irish retailers fear online festive sales threat

Almost three-quarters of Irish retailers believe the biggest challenge facing them is the increasing dominance online sellers such as Amazon.

But retailers here expect to generate just 25pc of their Christmas sales from online channels, according to a report from Barclays Bank Ireland.

The new survey found that Irish retailers are more positive about general trading, however, with 57pc of them expecting to see a rise in revenues this Christmas compared to last year. But 29pc expect flat revenue for the period, while 14pc expect a decline.

Of the respondents, 44pc said they feel more confident about the upcoming Christmas trading season than last year’s.

The Barclays survey questioned 100 Irish retailers, with half the retailers having annual turnover of more than €100m.

The survey found that companies expect to generate 69pc of their sales from traditional bricks and mortar stores, but that consumers are engaging more in omni-channel trading, researching products in-store before they buy online.
“Despite the ongoing growth in online and omni-channel retailing, bricks and mortar sales remain fundamental to the vast majority of Irish retailers,” said Helen Kelly, head of corporate banking at Barclays Bank Ireland. “At the same time there’s clear evidence of retailers bolstering their online capabilities to drive customer service and sales.”

The online threat posed by giants such as Amazon intensified over the past 18 months as sterling weakened against the euro.

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