The Chair of the Waterford Business Group says that many City Centre retailers are continuing to struggle, following a difficult summer season.
It follows news that the retail giant Debenhams is to close 50 outlets across the UK, although it’s not yet clear if Irish stores, including in Waterford City will be affected.
Waterford Business Group Chairman Michael Garland says Waterford is still in a difficult place, and that businesses could be “anything up to 8 or 10 per cent down on last year.”
“We don’t have the disposable income for people to spend,” he says, “realistically a lot of retailers, if they looked at the cold light of say could be shut Monday, Tuesday and half of Wednesday.”
“We are still in a difficult place, we have to remain positive, but we have to tackle those concerns that people have at the moment.”
He says that the long hot summer brought benefits to other parts of the county, but not to the City Centre.
“I think the summer has definitely had a detrimental effect,” he says, “the other side of the coin is the coastal resorts have done very well… perhaps we need to learn a few lessons from them.”