Relief for B&Q staff but threats to retail sector remain – Calleary

untitledFianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs and Enterprise Dara Calleary has welcomed the news that 640 jobs will be saved at DIY chain B&Q, but has cautioned that the ongoing threat to retailers cannot be ignored.

“This is a huge relief to the 640 workers at B&Q and their families.  It is also a relief to the chain’s loyal customer base in Ireland and to the communities in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Athlone and Naas that benefit from these stores keeping their doors open,” said Deputy Calleary.

“The deal to save B&Q includes a substantial investment from its parent company and a significant reduction in rents.  While it is welcome that a rescue plan was achievable in the case of B&Q, the retail sector remains in serious difficulty and the Government cannot continue to ignore the threats posed by excessive operating costs and the continued lack of available credit.

“Exorbitant rents and a challenging business environment are threatening the very future of shops and restaurants towns and cities across the country. The vast majority of these retailers do not have the backing of a large parent company if they get into serious difficulty.  Banks are simply not holding up their end of the bargain, and many viable businesses are going under as a result.  It’s getting so bad that the very existence of the ‘Main Street’ as we know it is under threat.

“What has happened to Fine Gael’s election campaign plan:  ‘Putting Small Business First’ ? What has happened to their promise to help retailers strangled by upward only rent contracts? B&Q stores may have been saved today, but you will see empty and boarded up shop fronts on every single thoroughfare and Main Street in this country.  It is time for this Government to wake up to what is happening and remember the promises they made to get into power.”

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