As part of his pre-Budget press conference, The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin mentioned that a Budget date swap to October was a possibility and he believed that people had seen their last December Budget.
The announcement was welcomed in the licensed trade by the VFI and LVA.
“The Budget tends to have a stalling effect on consumer confidence and as December is such an important month for the licensed trade, providing clarity around it is to be welcomed,” commented LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe.
“It makes sense to move the budget date,” agreed VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “December is too close to the Christmas spending time and can effect confidence and morale. In addition the kite flying by Ministers does not normally start until the return from the Summer holidays and such a move would leave a lot less time for such antics, we hope.”
The Chief Executive of Retail Excellence Ireland David Fitzsimmons pointed out that the scheduling of the Budget in December was the main factor contributing to restraining sales towards Christmas.
“The kite-flying for Budget 2013 did not help retail sales or consumer sentiment and caused many consumers to postpone their spend,” he stated, “However we welcome the move by the Government to schedule Budget 2013 to October. This is something which Retail Excellence Ireland has campaigned for on behalf of its 11,000 store members and will provide retailers with a much-needed boost for Christmas 2013.”
ISME Chief Executive Mark Fielding pointed out that a change of date was something ISME had been calling for over a number of years now.
“December is so late in the year for budgetary purposes that it has an effect on consumer spending for Christmas,” he said.
Some 40 per cent of annual retail sales take place in the last quarter of the year and he predicted that the switch would have a positive effect on Christmas sales, giving businesses more time to adjust to the Budget changes.
However the main driver of the proposed change is more likely to be the necessity for the Government, along with all other member states, having to submit a draft Budget plan to the EC before October 15th.