What We Do

Retail sector in Ireland

Retail sector in Ireland

The retail sector is the largest private sector employer in the country and is an important part of the domestic economy. Retail is classified under Eurostat G47 NACE Classification.  

Retail Forum

The Retail Forum was established in June 2014. The purpose of the Forum is to allow key issues of relevance to the retail sector to be discussed, with a view to identifying practical actions which could be taken by Government, or by industry itself, to support the sector with particular emphasis on achieving sustainable jobs growth in the sector.  

The Forum meets on a quarterly basis. View minutes of meetings of the Forum held since June 2014 and recent presentations made at Forum meetings

Membership of the Forum includes retail representative bodies, retailers, the City and County Managers Association and government departments.

For the purposes of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, the Retail Forum is obliged to comply with the Transparency Code as it is exempted from registering on the Lobbying Register. This also applies to any Working Group set up by the Forum. The Retail Forum Terms of Reference outlines how the Forum operates. See also, the Retail Forum's Privacy Notice

For queries in relation to the Retail Forum please contact retail@enterprise.gov.ie. 

Retail Forum Working Groups 

Three Working Groups were convened in 2022 to drive actions in the Retail Forum’s Work Programme:

  1. Future of Retail – Town Centre First/Night-time Economy

    Focus is to support relevant policy implementation of the Town Centre First Policy and the Report of the Night-Time Economy Task Force.

  2. Future of Retail – Digitalisation and Skills

    Focus on driving digitalisation of the sector and working to support skills development.

  3. Future of Retail – Green Transition

    Focus on driving best practice sustainability in the retail sector. 

The Retail Forum Working Groups Terms of Reference outlines how they operate.  

Membership of the Working Groups comprises of Retail Forum members and additional external practitioners who have a particular expertise or interest in an area under discussion. 

The Working Groups are chaired by officials from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Secretariat is provided by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.


Current legislation relative to the retail sector.*

Agriculture and Food Supply Chain Bill 2022

Circular Economy and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2022

Consumer Rights Bill 2022

Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill

Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022

Separate Collection (Deposit Return Scheme) Regulations 2021 

Sick Leave Act 2022

*This section includes current legislation relative to the retail sector which has been raised at Retail Forum meetings. This section is constantly under review.

Retail sector resources 

Tailored guidance for retailers about available government schemes and supports: 

Energy and Sustainability: Government schemes and resources for retailers 

Energy Efficiency Guide for Retailers - SEAI (PDF, 24MB) 

Education and training courses for retail 

Leading the Way

Skills for Better Business

Apprenticeship in Retail Supervision (Employer Information) - Retail Ireland Skillnet

Government consultations relevant to the retail sector

Department of Social Protection: Public consultation for the Mid-Term Review of Pathways to Work 2021-2025, Ireland’s national employment services strategy (deadline for submissions is 5pm, Friday, 31 March 2023)

Retail sector study

The Future of the Irish Retail Sector report, commissioned by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and carried out by KPMG Future Analytics, was completed in October 2022. The Report sets out 14 recommendations which are now part of the Retail Forum’s Work Programme. 

Retail statistics

Statistics relating to retail can be found through the DETE Data Dashboard.

Related information

Local Enterprise Office

Enterprise Ireland

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)

Retail and Services - CSO

Ireland's Retail Economy 2022 - CSO

Statistics - Central Bank of Ireland

Online Retail Scheme

White Paper on Enterprise 2022-2030

Bills and Acts of the Oireachtas