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Stormy Row Over Weather Warnings

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Met Eireann has hit back after being accused by retailers of being ‘alarmist’ with their weather warnings.

Retail Excellence Ireland says businesses lost out on what traditionally would be one of the busiest trading weekends of the year last weekend and lost out on tens of millions of euro.

A Status Orange Wind and Rain Warning were in place for Storm Deirdre.

The group has said, “It very much looks like the Irish Retail Industry will trade on par with Christmas 2017, at best.”

Met Eireann has strongly defended its position stating it issues warnings for public safety, and they are based “on the best scientific evidence available at the time”.

They have also said public safety is part of their remit.

The row has kicked off as online shopping has been growing rapidly – and that’s hitting Irish retailers with 70% of online spend going to foreign businesses.

The rise of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, discount events held before Christmas, has further encouraged shoppers to go online, REI said.

“Footfall in November is reported to have declined by as much as 5% like for like as Irish consumers decided to shop online rather than visit the high street.

“Footfall recovered in December but hit the buffers last weekend as weather warnings kept shoppers at home.”

“The Irish retail industry has never experienced such volatility. It is impossible to predict what each given week will bring.”