19 Jan 2022

Chamber's thoughts as Kilkenny prepares for a Christmas like no other

These few weeks are make or break for many businesses, says Chamber CEO John Hurley


Christmas shopping

The coming weeks will be make or break for many retailers as they hope to see the usual influx of customers to do their Christmas shopping. But this Christmas is going to be like no other.

Many of the usual rules do not necessarily apply. Some people have changed their shopping habits and it is difficult to read what may happen over the coming weeks.

For some, the concept of Black Friday has taken over from the traditional December 8 shopping day. Many others have gone online and of course Brexit and Covid have interrupted the usual supply chains and availability of products.

But there is a note of positivity from many Kilkenny retailers who report that business has bounced back well from the lockdowns and also benefited from staycationers during the holiday months.

“Kilkenny continues to be a destination of choice with a unique offering of boutique and bespoke shops for locals and visitors” says John Hurley CEO of Kilkenny Chamber.

“Whilst footfall count is lower than in previous years, the average value of spend per person is strong and there are great deals to be got by coming to town.”

People also want to know that it is safe for them to come to town. This has become a significant challenge for employers as they grapple with the challenges of providing safe places and conditions for their workers.

“Businesses are paying the price for a continued lack of action among the unvaccinated, and as a result of a reduction in effective public health measures, such as masking, in the vaccinated population” says Hurley.

“Legislation needs to be brought forward to allow employers to require that their employees have a vaccinated status, where unvaccinated employees could pose a risk to others.”

In response to recent soundings from Government, numerous corporate events such as office parties and Christmas celebrations have been cancelled leaving employers struggling to provide a meaningful acknowledgement to their staff for the great work they have done throughout the year.

The Kilkenny Gift Voucher scheme is the ideal solution for both employer and employee in these situations.
The tax benefits are significant (up to €500 tax free to every employee!) and because they don’t have an expiry date, they don’t lose their value and they are accepted in over 150 shops and businesses in Kilkenny, they are a win-win for everyone.

“We look to Government and officials in authority for many solutions but this is something that every individual can do and support local businesses by using the Kilkenny Gift Vouchers this Christmas,” Mr Hurley said.

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