Local retailers need to get share of huge online spend

Shoppers in Mayo are spending as much as €75 million each year online and that figure, which is a conservative estimate, is expected to more than double by 2017.

The online sales figure is dervived from research by Eurostat, the official statistics board of the European Union. In response to the huge growth in online shopping, Castlebar Chamber has organised an event, in association with Mayo Local Enterprise Office (LEO ) and Horkan's Garden Centre, Turlough, to help local businesses get a slice of the massive online retail sector.

Expert speakers will be at the event to talk about how businesses can start, or improve on, their sales online and some of the supports available to businesses in this area. Every day, a massive €8.5 million in online shopping goes to companies outside of Ireland, according to Eurostat. Castlebar Chamber president Sylvester Jennings said it is clear now, that in order to survive and thrive, local businesses are going to have to get online and start selling their products there.

“To see such a huge sum of money leave the local economy is disheartening,” said Mr Jennings. “However, the internet isn't going anywhere and it is a fact that shopping habits are changing. Local businesses are going to have to turn it around and find ways to get their share of that retail spend and keep it in the town and county.”

Speakers at the event will include John Horkan, a local businessman who has capitalised on the advent of the online retailing; Sophia McHugh, who recently launched a new website to help traditional ‘high street’ shops get their wares online; leading consultant Alastair McDermott, ‘the website doctor’, and Mayo Local Enterprise Office, who will offer advice on the supports and grants available to local businesses. The event, The Online Retail Opportunity, takes place in Horkans Garden Centre, Turlough, at 6.30 pm, on Thursday, May 15.

The event is free and open to Chamber members and non-members alike, businesses, traders, entrepreneurs or anyone who has an interest in this area. For more information, contact Castlebar Chamber on (094 ) 90 24845 or (086 ) 3002996.

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