Irish independents have told Drapers business is “booming” again in Dublin, as the weather warms up and companies move their European Union bases from the UK to the city ahead of Brexit.
There was a 0.5% year-on-year increase in total sales values for fashion, footwear and textiles in the final quarter of 2018 in the Republic of Ireland, industry body Retail Ireland reported. Director Thomas Burke said the Irish economy is in a “sweet spot” because of high employment and growth in disposable incomes.
Independent fashion retailers Drapers spoke to verified this, also citing the warm spring weather, an increase in tourism and Brexit for the boost in sales.
“Business is booming in the capital,” said Ruth Ní Loinsigh, founder and owner of womenswear independent Om Diva. “The atmosphere is very positive and the feeling on the street is great. People would always talk about the recession, but they don’t any more. Ireland is back on the map.”
Ní Loinsigh said this was a result of a “mix of warm weather, an influx in tourism, and people ordering less online and buying more in store”: “There is definitely more confidence from consumers.”
She added that the influx of companies from the UK ahead of Brexit has increased footfall on the high street.
“Generally, people are happy about more companies coming over because it creates jobs. There is no animosity [about Brexit].”
Louis Copeland, owner of menswear independent Louis Copeland & Sons, which has four stores in Dublin, echoed this and added: “Business is up 4%-5%, depending on what store we’re talking about. The atmosphere over here is generally upbeat.”
“The weather has been mild, which has certainly helped. The weather was so bad last year, we had to close for four days because of the snow.
“People moving over because of Brexit and the increasing footfall has been good for Ireland. Its also good for us because they are from companies, banks and finance – they are all suit wearers. They Google where to get a good suit and come to us.”
Dublin-based womenswear independent Costume was founded in 1997 by Billie Tucker and her daughters, Tracy, Leigh and Anne.
Tracy Tucker said: “Business is going well. It’s up on last year. The good weather has played a big part in footfall and sales. It’s always better when the weather is mild early because you have the spring stock that people want. People are ready to try things on and think about the summer.
“We’ve also had loads of tourists, which is unusual for us because we don’t sell too many “Irish-y” things.
“It’s hard to know if companies coming over because of Brexit has had an impact. You don’t really know if people are new because of that.”
Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, said: “A growing population is part of the upward drive in Dublin, along with the arrival of new firms. Our members are welcoming to companies moving to Dublin because it means more people, more footfall and more disposable income.
“The Irish economy is in a sweet spot at present, and the wider economy is growing at more than 7% per annum. Employment numbers have hit record highs in recent months (over 2.1 million now at work) and consumer disposable income is growing at more than 3% year on year. This has created a very positive trading environment for Irish retailers.
“It has been on an upward curve since 2012. Dublin will hopefully sustain decent level of growth. Growth this year of was about 5%, and we don’t project any downturn.”
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