Retail Ireland today release their comprehensive ‘Shaping the future of Irish Retail’ report, a strategy and forecast for the next three years in the retail sector.

Retail currently stands the State’s biggest private-sector employer with more than 280,000 workers. The report suggests retailers are planning a major injection of investment in people, skills, store refurbishments and technology over the next three years.

Conor Whelan, chairman of Retail Ireland and managing director of Eason said “The results of our report show that despite a considerable softening of sentiment since the Brexit vote, Irish retailers remain optimistic about the future, with the majority having ambitions to develop, invest in and expand their businesses in the next three years.”

Mr Whelan also said “In fact, 85% of retailers surveyed said they intend to invest in people and careers in the next three to five years and 92% are planning to invest in new technology and refurbishment.”

Retail Ireland suggests Brexit is already affecting the performance of the sector, with growth in retail sales between 2017 and 2020 likely to average between 1.2% and 2.2% a year, mostly driven by population growth.

In the report, Retail Ireland calls on the Government to introduce a tax credit to help retailers compete with international online retailers. It also wants a reduction in the cost of regulatory compliance, more State support for training and concerted efforts to “regenerate Ireland’s high streets”.

Retail Ireland also wants the government to work towards regenerate Ireland’s high streets and reduce the cost of regulatory compliance.