How local shopping is more important than ever

From utilities to groceries, steep rises in the cost of living pose a real financial threat to many Irish households. As bills for necessities rise, many of us are rightly looking for ways to cut costs. And when fears about the cost of living add to the seemingly endless housing crisis, it can feel like a quintessentially Irish phenomenon. There are fears that this perception could drive people to seek value by concentrating their spending outside the local economy, which could exacerbate long-term problems.

Economist Jim Power has highlighted this potential problem in a new report for Champion Green, a national initiative that encourages local spending to boost post-pandemic recovery.

Mr. Power points out that the rising cost of living is an international problem.

“Virtually every country in the developed world is grappling with the highest inflation rates in a decade,” he said. “Costs are rising globally. But any perception that this is just an Irish problem could mislead consumers towards online retail abroad, or cross-border shopping away from local. The organizers of Champion Green believe it is important that this misperception is acknowledged and addressed, particularly given the importance of local spending for Irish businesses.

Irish shoppers have shown a real determination to buy local wherever possible during lockdown and Champion Green says it’s vital this trend continues.

“By supporting local businesses, our spending makes them stronger and more competitive,” said Marian O’Gorman, Founder of Champion Green. “Lower prices are possible when stores or manufacturers have more volume. So every shopper in Ireland can help lower the cost of living by keeping money circulating locally. In 2021, average Irish consumer prices rose by 5.5%, the highest annual inflation rate since April 2001. Mr Power says the upward pressure on prices is due to the disruption global markets, recruitment difficulties, strong consumer demand and limited supply in some countries. sectors.

His report highlights how Covid-19 has significantly disrupted supply chains and shipping, with energy prices escalating in particular. Staff shortages, rising overheads and pandemic-related debt have also impacted the competitiveness of Irish businesses. Pent-up consumer demand, due to Covid restrictions, rebounded strongly at the end of last year, but this also impacted supply, forcing inflation.

However, the same factors are at play in most developed economies, so imports do not necessarily mean lower prices, especially when VAT and customs duties have to be taken into account.

So Mr Power wants Irish consumers to bear in mind the multiplier effect of supporting local.

“Every euro spent in the national economy is paid in the form of wages and benefits, which are taxed, so that they are in turn redistributed in the economy”, he underlined. “Each euro translates into an injection of at least €2.50 into the local economy. This is particularly important as we try to rebuild social services like health care and education after the damage caused by pandemic-related restrictions.”

Covid has also prompted the biggest ever push towards online business. With increasing pricing pressures in the Irish economy, it is important that Irish consumers who have migrated online continue to buy from local retailers online or in person where possible, says the author of the Champion Green report.

“It helps support Irish jobs and regional economic and social vitality,” Mr Power said. “Every online purchase from an overseas supplier represents an outflow of money from the Irish economy, undermining Irish businesses and their ability to compete.”

Choice of the week

Aldi egg chair

As we anticipate better days ahead, Aldi is bringing a budget version of one of the must-have outdoor items of recent years on sale Thursday.

The retailer is selling a small Gardenline hanging egg chair for £199.99, as part of a range of garden equipment and accessories. The powder coated steel frame measures approximately 195 x 100 x 95cm, with the chair itself measuring 113 x 85.5 x 64cm (approx).

The set includes seat and back cushions and a safety strap with hook and loop that helps keep the chair securely in place when entering and exiting.

“Perfect for the patio or veranda, this comfortable rattan-effect hanging chair will be your seat of choice,” says Aldi. “Just put your legs up and make the most of that comfortable space.”

The chair and other garden accessories will go on sale in Aldi stores on Thursday, March 3.

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