More than half (55%) claimed it was now a difficult business that involved long hours and poor financial returns. One retailer in Dundalk said he had worked 92 hours in one week and was effectively paying himself E5.50 an hour, more than E2 below the minimum wage.
Increased competition from the multiples and discount stores was another reason cited by retailers for not wanting their children to go into the trade. More than 80% described the current trading environment as ‘tough’ or ‘very tough’.
In the survey, conducted by Shop Talk, an RGDATA house magazine, 57% of those polled said their costs had risen by up to 40% over the past five years. Staff wages were the main factor. Most retailers felt the minimum wage of E7.65/hour was too high. The escalating cost of insurance, security, heat and lighting were also cited.
The impending abolition of the Groceries Order has created anxiety. Half of those polled said it was the greatest challenge facing the trade. Some accused the government of giving free rein to Tesco, Aldi and Lidl.