Dunnes Stores has been accused of "blatantly flouting" Covid-19 guidelines by ramping up a click-and-collect service prohibited under Level 5 lockdown restrictions.
The retailer’s website offers shoppers online delivery and click-and-collect options for a full range of products across its homewares and clothes departments, which the Department of Enterprise has said is not allowed.
Duncan Graham, chief executive of Retail Excellence, said he had been inundated with queries from members in recent days complaining that the retailer was “blatantly flouting the rules”.
He said he had made multiple representations to the department about the issue but had heard nothing concrete back.
Mr Graham said a large retailer doing so was "unfair" on others who had discontinued click-and-collect services, in line with the latest regulations, while Dunnes appeared to have "ramped up its click-and-collect" service.
Dunnes Stores did not respond to queries, while a spokesman for the department declined to say if it had any plans to intervene.
“The guidelines in Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead are clear that ‘click and collect’ or ‘reserve and collect’ services are only available for essential retail items. The department has ongoing engagement with retailers to ensure those guidelines are followed.”
At the end of last month Dunnes Stores removed prominent references to a “reserve and collect” service for clothes and homewares from its website after being asked to explain how the new service differed from click-and-collect operations prohibited for non-essential retail under Level 5 regulations.
The ban was introduced as it was felt that doing so would stop people driving to shops and town centres to pick up ordered goods and would reduce the movement of people in the community.