Retail sector hit hard in run-up
Dangerous road conditions have had a major impact on the retail sector as people struggle to hit the shops in the traditional Christmas build-up.
In some cases business have reported a 90 per cent drop in trade because of roads closures due to the snow.
Although trade is generally down across the county some areas have reported a slight boost for local shops in rural areas as people struggle to travel to large towns for provisions.
Toni Forrester of Letterkenny Chamber says trade in the retail sector is down but the entertainment industry is one that could be hardest hit.
"Things are really quite tough. I spoke with some business people in the last few days who say they think their figures will be similar to last year just because of the fact in the last few days people have said ‘right we have to get out' but that won't be across the board," Toni stated.
"This a time when they are really aiming to build their cash flow for January so we would be really concerned for those in particular but that is not to take away from the retail sector," she added.
Donegal businessman and former Mayor, Ernan McGettigan, says there has been a marked decrease in business in the town in the run-up to the holidays leaving the retail sector "depressed".
"We are landlocked with the weather and conditions. People are getting into us now because they realise it's not going to change and as long as the thaw doesn't come we will probably be okay. It has been very, very slow and very difficult for businesses particularly in the fresh perishable goods, the food end of it, on what to have in stock and whether you have too much or too little," Ernan stated.
He says many local bushiness are aware of the difficulty people have in travelling to the town and many shops are putting arrangements in place to deliver goods out to stricken shoppers.
In west Donegal, Eamonn McBride of Gaoth Dobhair Chamber says that while some local retailers have noticed an increase in trade due to people not being able to travel to larger shopping areas, but in some cases, due to road closures, some outlets saw a 90% drop in trade.
"We have a situation where some of our retail outlets have been totally cut off from consumers being able to get to them. One trader on the Errigal road said his trade is down up anything up to 90% and that is very serious," he added.
He said in some cases the poor roads conditions were a "blessing in disguise" for some retailers as more people are shopping locally than normal.
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