Retail news round-up: Shoppers in Northern Ireland increase, Premium Foods less impacted by Brexit and petition for shops to be closed on Boxing Day reaches 170,000.

Number of shoppers rise in Northern Ireland

Falling sterling has led to a rise in the number of shoppers in Northern Ireland, with an increasing number of Irish people shopping on UK websites, the Irish independent reported.

According to Ibec business group’s Retail Ireland Unit, the rise of shopping in Northern Ireland could be because few British retailers may not have adjusted to euro prices in Irish outlets.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke said: "Central Bank statistics show that ecommerce transactions recorded on Irish debit and credit cards jumped 20% from €1bn to €1.2bn between July and September as Sterling fell.

"Goods prices have fallen by 2.9% on average over the last quarter and, in the first 10 months of the year, were down 8.5% on the same period three years ago."

He said that the Irish retail sector was working to adjust prices despite limited scope to reduce further.

The Government has been asked to prioritise support for the retail sector in coming months "to ensure recent currency shifts are not allowed to erode the jobs-intensive retail recovery".

Premium Foods less impacted by post-Brexit price increases

Premium Foods has dismissed the battle between food suppliers and supermarkets, saying it is less impacted by the Brexit price rise, The Telegraph reported.

The rise in cost of imported goods has led to tension between retailers and suppliers over who would take a hit from price inflation.

Premier Foods chief executive Gavin Darby said: "Our rivals have a tougher challenge than Premier does and we will have less of a cost impact to pass on in the first place."

The company is said to have an advantage as 89% of what they buy is in sterling and about 95% of products are made in the UK.

Martin Deboo at global investment bank Jefferies said he "continues to feel cautious around the risks from the impending return of cost inflation to UK grocery, where we think Premier will see a mid-single digit percentage impact on input costs of £350m to £400m. We expect recovering this to be a challenge".

Petition urging retailers to remain closed on Boxing Day reaches 170,000

Usdaw, Shopworkers’ union joined the call for shops to be closed on Boxing Day with a petition reaching more than 170,000 signatures, the Scotsman reported.

A Usdaw spokesperson said: “Staff in retail work very long hours in the run-up to Christmas.

“Our members tell us that they need time off to recuperate as well as to spend time with their family and friends. That is especially important when they have children for whom Christmas is such a special time.

“Usdaw is seeking the longest possible break for retail staff over the Christmas and New Year period, to provide shopworkers with a breather during this very busy time.”

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) stated that companies would decide opening hours based on customers’ needs and preferences.

A BRC spokesperson said: "Boxing Day is a popular time to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales and retailers will respond accordingly to cater for this customer demand."