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Retail shortages, undeterred homebuyers and a slowdown in construction

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Retail Excellence says independent retailers may have difficulty this Christmas sourcing stock. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Retail representatives are warning that certain categories including fashion and hardware could experience stock shortages during the upcoming Christmas shopping season, due to the impact of coronavirus on supply chains. Extended opening hours are also being considered in the industry to allow for social distancing among festive shoppers, Mark Paul reports.

Sentiment among prospective homebuyers appears to be holding up in the face of the pandemic, research by suggests. A consumer sentiment survey published today shows 71 per cent of them plan on forging ahead with a purchase of a property over the next year.

But the nascent recovery in construction activity that began after the easing of lockdown measures began to stall in August, according to the latest Ulster Bank purchasing managers index (PMI), which measures trade in building materials and is considered an early barometer of economic activity.

Companies that trade online are being advised to prepare for proposed new laws to control the publication of “harmful content” on their online forums, even as the Government will miss a deadline this week for the transposition into Irish law of some of the planned measures.

One of our most-read stories online yesterday was Chris Johns’ column on Brexit, and how the EU should simply let what he calls the Johnson-Cummings “psychodrama” play out. “Let them leave without the deal that, if truth be told, they don’t really want. It won’t be the end of the story by any means,” he writes.

And in her column today, Pilita Clark asks, why are corporate mission statements so often full of lofty ideals that companies fail to live up to in reality?

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