The media are currently debating the claims that representatives of the retail industry made to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Anyone who listened to The Last Word yesterday would have heard Matt Cooper getting extremely exasperated about it. Retailers are claiming that the reason prices are so high in the Republic of Ireland is because international distributors charge more to Irish buyers.
This may well be true, but isn’t it a little strange that this is only becoming public knowledge now? For a long time, retailers blamed higher operating costs, staff costs and VAT for the sterling/euro price differential, but we’re all aware now that this difference accounts for only around 6%. Now the blame is being shifted to the distributors – is this the fault of the media for only reporting it now, or is it a new and convenient excuse for the retailers? What do you think?