Should You Pay More to Use a Credit Card?

credit-cardThe question has been debated across the world. Should the Retailer, charge more to a customer that used a credit card?

The EU says that retailers can’t discriminate based on payment method and will therefore ban surcharges from next year. Australia has also clamped down on sur-charges by setting limits on how much they can be per transaction. The US Supreme Court has decided to take up this question – and has now sparked international debate.

So what do you think? Is charging a customer a surcharge for using a credit card really discrimination? Do you offer a strictly cash only policy?


Retail Sales Volume decreased by 4.7% in August 2016

According to the latest results from the CSO (28.09.16), Retail sales have decreased by 4.7% in August when compared with the previous month, however there was an increase in the volume of retails sales for the year.


Retail Sales Index

August 2016 (Provisional) July 2016 (Final)

Seasonally Adjusted Retail Sales Index – All Businesses
(Base Year 2005 = 100)
    Volume Index Value Index
August 2015 108.7 97.0
July 2016 119.9 103.7
August 2016 114.3 99.8
Monthly % change -4.7 -3.7
Annual % change 5.2 2.
Retail Sales Fig 1 Aug 2016
Retail Sales Aug 2016

The  volume of retail sales (i.e. excluding price effects) decreased by 4.7% in August 2016 when compared with July 2016 and there was an increase of 5.2% in the annual figure. (See Table 1). If Motor Trades are excluded, there was an increase of 0.9% in the volume of retail sales in August 2016 when compared with July 2016 and there was an increase of 4.1% in the annual figure. (See Table 2).

chart-2The sectors with the largest month on month volume decreases were Motor Trades (-11.1%), Bars, (-2.7%) and Department Stores (-1.1%). The sectors with the largest monthly increases were Furniture and Lighting (+8.8%), Other Retail Sales (+5.1%) and Hardware, Paints & Glass (+4.6%). (See Table 3).

There was a decrease of 3.7% in the value of retail sales in August 2016 when compared with July 2016 and there was an annual increase of 2.9% when compared with August 2015. If Motor Trades are excluded, there was no change in the value of retail sales and an annual increase of 1.8%.


Feedback Tips


Giving feedback on an employee’s performance is an essential part of helping them be all that they can be in your capitalist regime. Giving a quick review now and again on what they’re doing right and what they’re doing not-so-right can really help for all parties involved; they get a pat on the back and an incentive to work harder and you get to criticise someone mercilessly. Fun!

However giving feedback can also be tricky. You need to know how to strike a balance between firm and fair; too firm and you won’t have any employees left but too fair and no one will get anything done. Ultimately if you or your employee are leaving the feedback session without knowing exactly what improvements need to be made and how, then you need to work on your technique to better communicate what needs to be done. A poorly handled feedback session will just leave everyone confused and productivity can be left in a worse shape than before. Luckily here’s a handy guide to not do that! Nice.

Courtesy of the Harvard Business Review 2015, reprinted in the Irish Times, here’s a nice and easy top five list of ways to improve your feedback giving skillz. So really everybody gets to improve, far out. Presented by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, the CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems, this guide will have you dishing out feedback like a certified pro.

Understanding Brand Colours

brand colours

One of the most important factors in designing a successful logo is colour. It’s the first thing a consumer will notice and they will associate this reaction with your brand forever. You don’t want to mess it up.

Marketo have compiled this really lovely-looking infographic going through the ins and outs of brand colours and what kind of message a certain colour will send with plenty of neat facts and figures along the way. This infographic gives you the basics of everything you need to know about brand colours with plenty of practical examples and statistics from the world’s top brands themselves.

It is vital to get the right message across to your customer as quickly as possible and this guide is a wonderful starting point.


Survey: Irish employees report high stress

stress survey

A new survey states that over 82 per cent of Irish employees are feeling increased personal stress over health and financial concerns, the Irish Times reports.

Red C conducted the survey of 502 Irish employees from around the country on behalf of Mercer. A similar survey conducted in the UK on over 1,000 participants shows that Irish employees are feeling greater stress. In the UK 74 per cent of participants reported increased personal stress, 8 per cent less than the Irish figure.

The study also revealed that over 59 per cent of Irish participants felt concern over maintaining a balance between a health lifestyle and their work schedule. 51 per cent expressed worry over savings for retirement and over 54 per cent displayed reported concern over their family’s wellbeing in the event of their own illness or death.

These high stress levels also seem to be impacting Irish employees’ performance in the work place. 44 per cent felt that stress and anxiety were causing their productivity rates to slip while 64 per cent reported low concentration levels. 59 per cent of those surveyed reported dissatisfaction with their jobs.

“Irish employees are clearly suffering from the burden of increased stress and worry that is damaging their ability to concentrate and deliver the best results for their employer,” stated Niall O’Callaghan, a representative of of Mercer. “Across all life stages and ages, employees’ personal worries about health and financial security are having a dramatic effect on how they operate at work. If employees are worried, distracted, not as healthy as they could be, then they are not as engaged as they could be either.”

As an employer, it is vital to understand the stress employees could be under as a result of their job.

Hasbro Competition with Indiegogo

hasbro competition

Hasbro, Inc., board game manufacture extraordinaires, have joined forces with Indiegogo to launch a new competition looking for the next big hit.

From 28th of August to 30th of September, plucky hopefuls will be able to submit their ideas for the next big board game. Hasbro professionals will then pick their top five finalists who will then go on to duke it out through the medium of Indiegogo campaigns. The ultimate victor will be decided on 3rd of December, winning a not too shabby $10,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Hasbro HQ to work with the Hasbro team and make their game a reality.

Submissions will be judged based on gameplay, theme, potential for fun-ness, and viability. The goal is to come up with the next happenin’ party game to be played face-to-face with some sort of “physical component,” whatever that means. Whether your intended audience is college kids or actual kids or extended families looking for something to do at another boring reunion, anything goes.

Unfortunately the competition is only open to US residents. But maybe you’ve got an American cousin who you know has got the moxie for this kind of thing. Or you could hop on a plane yourself and apply for citizenship because this competition means that much to you. The sky’s the limit. Here’s the submission page anyway to whet your submission whistle.

Back-To-School Stationery Checklist

back-to-school stationery

It’s officially September, which means all the back-to-school stationery is just ripe for the picking. Send your young’uns to school in style with pencil cases brimming with the essentials and nonessentials alike till they’ve got protactors falling out the sleeve holes. They will cherish their new swag always up to approximately the first week of school, after which they will slowly but surely start to lose each tool until they’re fumbling their way through the last few weeks with nothing but a chewed up pen they found in the hallway one time. And then it’ll be September again and you’ll be back to loading up the stationery once more, the cycle cycles on, The System Works.

Euroffice have compiled a nice and easy top ten list of all the tools your bundle(s) of joy will need to arm themselves with for the coming term. Divided into subjects, the list helpfully guides you through the necessities required in each academic field from Maths to Art to the Humanities. Retailers can check it out as well to see what kind of school merch parents will be on the lookout for.

Once you’ve got an idea of what to get, why not try moseying on down to our Stationery section and see what takes your fancy. And what, would you look at that, we’re currently having a sale on back-to-school/college merch, haha wild.

Top Brands in Ireland

top brands

Checkout magazine have released their Checkout Top 100 Brands list for this year with Coca-Cola winning the top spot for the 11th year in a row.

Checkout compile their list “based on branded value sales across the Irish grocery sector“. Over 6,500 brands were taken into account but only 100 top brands could emerge victorious.

Irish brands prove to be popular among consumers, with Avonmore, Brennan’s and Tayto all securing spots in the top five. Other high-placing Irish brands include Jacob’s (9th), Club soft drinks (13th), Irish Pride (14th) and Dairygold (15th).

“It’s never been as competitive in the Irish grocery landscape, and Ireland’s biggest brands have risen to the challenge,” remarked Stephen Wynne-Jones, the editor of Checkout. “While Irish shoppers are largely creatures of habit, this year’s Top 100 indicates that consumers are willing to switch, provided their quality and value expectations are met.”

And here’s the Top 20 for all your Top 20 needs:

1. Coca-Cola
2. Avonmore Milk
3. Brennans
4. Cadbury Dairy Milk
5. Tayto
6. Lucozade
7. 7UP
8. Walkers
9. Jacobs
10. Extra
11. Yoplait
12. Pampers
13. Club
14. Irish Pride
15. Dairygold
16. Müller
17. Goodfella’s
18. Danone
19. Nescafé
20. Red Bull

Toys R Us to Launch in Ireland

toys r us ireland

The massive American toy retailer Toys R Us have yet to set up shop in the Emerald Isle in their 65-odd-year span of being in business – until now. The toy chain have announced their plans to open ten stores across the Republic of Ireland over the next five years and have just secured their first two locations in Dublin and Limerick.

Toys R Us’ plans to open in Ireland come with the intention of overtaking Smyths, currently the biggest toy retailer in the country. Toys R Us already own four stores in Northern Ireland and while it is possible to order and deliver products from these locations online, the brand have yet to set up shop across the border.

It will be interesting to see how Toys R Us’ presence in the Republic will shake up current trends in the Irish toy market. The chain already boasts a sizable 1,500 stores worldwide in over 33 countries and evidently these numbers only continue to grow.

The first two Toys R Us stores will be located in the Westend Shopping Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin, and in the Parkway Retail Park, Limerick.

Easy Steps to Prevent Fraud

prevent fraud

Companies are plagued every year by the damage caused by fraud. From business to not-for-profits to government institutions, organisations of every size are losing over 5% of their annual revenue due to fraud and unethical behaviour. It is becoming more and more pertinent for company owners to become familiar with both detecting and preventing fraud in their ranks. And here’s a handy blog post on how to do just that. Neat!

FraudEdge are dedicated to helping Irish organisations combat the dangers of fraud and their post on the Top 10 Fraud Prevention Steps is one of their most useful resources. Laid out in easy-to-read chunks, this list covers pretty much everything you need to know in being proactive in preventing fraud in your own business.

The Five Principles of Retail

The Five Principles of Retail

Whether you’re a newcomer to retail or you’re a veritable veteran, it can never hurt to swot up on the basics for a bit of a refreshers course. The Marketing Donut has condensed all you need to know about retailing into five perfectly manageable bullet points. The list includes familiar faves such as the four ‘P’s and being nice to customers or whatever. Definitely worth a quick read-through if you’re a retailer who wants to know how to retail good.

Giant Minion Balloon Terrorises Irish Motorists

Inflatable Minion

In what can only be Gru’s most diabolical world domination attempt yet, a giant inflatable Minion wreaked havoc on the residents of Santry when it flew onto the Old Swords Road. Traffic was halted, reports The Journal, and heart palpitations were  endured, reports us.

Inflatable Minion on Old Swords Road
Wow Pacific Rim 2 look great so far.

The images in this article are courtesy of Erin Van Londen, an onlooker who saw the carnage in action. “I actually rang the gardaí. It was quite an odd thing to have to report,” she later spoke of the trauma. Thankfully the incident seemed to cause little damage other than one unlucky motorist losing a wing mirror.

Inflatable Minion
Do not go gentle into that good night.

The gardaí eventually arrived at the scene to deflate the gentle beast. With its limp corpse being carted away by professionals in a wheelbarrow, we can rest assured knowing that the evil here has been defeated.

Inflatable Minion
Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Has your whistle been whetted for more Minion-related content in Irish contexts? Check out our Minion range so you can own Minion merch to flaunt off in your own Irish-contextualised hands!! Wowie.

Argos Top Toys 2015

August is nearly upon us, which means it’s about time for that relatable retail feel of planning for Christmas stock a full five months in advance. Just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling indeed.

To help out in securing the most anticipated toys for this year’s Christmas season, Argos has released their predictions for the top sellers of 2015. Linzi Walker, Argos’ Chief Toy Buyer, talks us through the list which sees plenty of reliable favourites throughout such as Nerf and Lego. Walker also predicts that films and television shows will have a big influence on what children look for this year. With the Minions film releasing this summer and with people still talking about Frozen, kids will surely be clamouring for related merch.

The video is definitely worth a watch for retailers looking to see what big name stores are stocking up on for winter.

Buzzfeed – Americans Pronouncing Irish Names


Always a favourite. American Buzzfeed writers (or just people Buzzfeed found on the street? They never say who these people are in these videos. And those two groups of people don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, one supposes.) try their darndest to pronounce Irish names, fadas and shéimhús and all.

Princess Leia Figure from Hot Toys

Princess Leia Figure from Hot Toys

Sideshow Collectibles has partnered with Hot Toys to release a new hyper-realistic Princess Leia action figure.

This 1/6th scale model depicts Carrie Fisher’s iconic look as immortalised in the original Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977). At only just over 10″ tall, Leia comes pre-equipped with two blasters, several different hands for the sole purpose of voguing probably, and 28 points of articulation. The figurine will be joining the ranks of other hyper-detailed Star Wars characters from Hot Toys, such as Han Solo and Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and R2D2.

Princess Leia Figure
Just appreciate those hair loopies though.

Princess Leia will be expected to drop in early 2016 and is available to pre-order now at a modest $204.99, or €185.39 for those of you really into currency conversions.


ISME Briefing Sessions Open for Registration

ISME Briefing Sessions

ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association) has just released their timetable for this year’s briefing sessions. These sessions are free but places are limited, so register online to guarantee your spot.

The sessions will take place from Wednesday 9th of September to Wednesday 30th of September in over twelve locations across the country including Dublin, Galway and Cork. The events promise enlightening perspectives on business from industry leaders including ISME’s own CEO, Mark Fielding.

If you’re a small/medium business owner looking to earn a few more business-savvy brownie points, this is the place to do it. For a full timetable, check out the link above.

Es-cent-ial Guide to Rounding

1c 2c 5c - Rounding

Here’s a less charmingly titled article as a mild follow up to our last post on the Rounding scheme being rolled out on 28 October.

The Central Bank has released a quick guide as an overview of what’s happening in October with the Rounding initiative to slowly reduce the use of 1c and 2c pieces. Here’s a prettier PDF for all your prettier PDF needs.

The guide clears up a couple of misconceptions. For one thing, the scheme is totally optional for both the consumer and the retailer; both parties can still use exact change in the transaction if they want. And Rounding won’t be applied to single products but to the the total bill.

Check out the full guide for further info.

Business Mogul Dolls Funded on Kickstarter


“Our girls are smart and savvy. Isn’t it time their dolls reflect that?” proclaims the Kickstarter page for iBesties, an upcoming toy range designed to inspire young girls to seek entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

The brand of toys and books revolves a group of six friends who become successful internet moguls after their blog goes viral. Each iBestie is equipped with a different area of business expertise or technological know-how, from McKenna the Business Boss to Sunny the Coding Queen. Each doll will come with a book full of information to teach girls business savvy and tech skills along with lessons in friendship and teamwork. The series hopes to incorporate a number of different platforms, from the dolls and their fashion to books and online games.

The iBesties come from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds with unique personalities and skills. Nice.
The iBesties come from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds with unique personalities and skills. Nice.

iBesties is a creation from sisters Jenae and Gina Heitkamp. Disappointed with the lack of representation for girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), they decided to create their own. They felt that young girls deserved to see themselves in successful career paths and understand that the sky is the limit for their future. As their Kickstarter video cites, less than 7% of big business CEOs and heads of tech companies are women. The Heitkamps believe part of this is due to young girls having little to no toys or media showing them that they can achieve in these high-power positions and as a result grow up with a much more limited idea of career paths. Basically, “you can’t be what you can’t see.”

The project was launched to Kickstarter on the 15th of June and reached its goal of $50,000 earlier today, the 28th of July. The deadline is the 31st of July so there is still some time to back the project.

July Sale

July Sale - Fitzpatrick Wholesale

Yes, July is the month and we’ve got a sale, it’s happening. Check out the website for the latest scoops and deals, for example this giant outdoor Snakes & Ladders game. Yes, now you too can have a whimsical round of this affront against the natural order of board games belonging on tables. Confound tradition, you exclaim, you want to play your childhood classics on the dirt with your 80s-quality-photoshopped family in front of your stock image of a quaint neighbourhood while a giant cartoon dice looms above you all, judging.

Whatever is happening in this scene it belongs in the Smithsonian, this is art.

It doesn’t get much more ‘July’ than this, folks.


1c 2c Rounding

For want of a better title please make do with this hilarious and charming pun.

As previously shared on our Facebook page and as previously reported by the South Dublin Chamber, 28th October 2015 will bring with it the start of the National Rounding Project. This scheme seeks to reduce the use of 1 and 2 cent coins by rounding the total cost of transactions to the nearest 5c. This follows the likes of other countries such as Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and other countries who have previously scrapped their small change.

The next four months in our barbaric, backwards society awash with 1cs and 2cs will be used to give retailers and consumers alike time to adjust and plan accordingly. The late October date allows adequate time for retailers to prepare for the busy holiday season. The Central Bank also plans to launch education campaigns for consumers and provide support and resources for retailers still in grieving.

Spray the Cray Away

feck off spray copy (2)

Never before has a product been acclaimed as so innovative and revolutionary for simply doing exactly what it says on the tin. This exclusive aerosol makes short work of removing petulant pests from your immediate vicinity for up to four hours with a success rate over 30% more effective than that of giving one word answers in conversation and hoping they’ll take a hint eventually.  The spray has been tested on a vast range of eejits and cretins you’re sure to encounter on your daily route, even politicians and other arbitrarily disliked groups of society. The tend to swarm during summer, so make sure you’re prepared. Only available while stocks last, so act today and spray away!

Of course if you’re more the ‘honey over vinegar’ kind of citizen then you might be more interested in our full air fresheners range. Who knows, maybe you’ll convince the assholes in your life to take a fresh and floral-scented perspective on life.

Marketing to Generation Z


The millennials have been the target of a barrage of advertising over the last two decades in the hopes of tiding over the materialistic new kids on the block. However, now that the millennials are aging gracefully into the ripe old demographic of 20-37 year olds, it’s about time for marketers to start shifting their attention to our new and shiny batch of impressionable youths: Generation Z. While only having been born in 1995 or later, these up-and-comers have already established new ideologies and media consumption patterns totally different to their predecessors.

Marketo have compiled a very useful infographic breaking down the characteristics of this new Gen Z which will prove to be vital for any retailer looking to appeal to this new audience. Know your enemy and all that, right? However bear in mid that all of the figures cited in the graph pertain to American Gen Z kids, but it’s still a fairly good stab at what Irish kids are doing nowadays too.

Make Social Media Work For You

In this unforgiving capitalist world of ours, social media seems to ever be on the rise as a means of connecting with your audience. However simply signing up for a new-fangled account on Facebook or Twitter or the next big thing of the next three months won’t be enough – you need to engage with social media smartly so as to benefit not only you but also your customers. Here’s a fun guide from RazorSocial detailing how you can get the most out of your social sites to guarantee you’re reaching the audience you want and delivering the content they need. And if you’re hungry for more after that, RazorSocial have plenty of pieces on business and social media to keep you going.

While you’re here being interested in social media and all, why not another cool reminder to check out our Facebook, the ultimate paradigm of business savvy and the genuine power of friendship? It really is some solid stuff.

289 New Derry Jobs with US Firm

Ireland continues to attract international business as proven by OneSource Virtual’s bold multi-million investment plan which seeks to employ over 289 workers in Northern Ireland by 2017. The Irish Times reports that the company was drawn to Derry because of the skilled, tech-savvy work force to pool from. The centre plans to support output from its US headquarters and begin its expansion into the rest of Europe. Jonathan Bell, Northern Ireland’s enterprise minister, named Invest NI’s £2.9million worth of financial incentives as a big contributor in securing OneSource’s placement in Derry.

UK Poll: 22% of Adults Play with Toy Cars

Can you blame them, look at these things, they’re rad.

As the Irish Examiner recently reported, a survey of 2,044 UK adults showed that over 22% of participants still play with toy cars, regardless of if their kids are in the room or not. Only half of these kids at heart feel comfortable enough to play with their toys if other adults are around to judge. The survey also found that 7% of adults put their cars on glorious display.

13% reported that they had received toy cars as a gift but if you happen to feel a kindred spirit-type connection with the 6% that wished they had received a toy car in their adulthood, fret not; we’ve got just the thing. For your perusal, our toy cars range form the greats including Matchbox, Hot Wheels and more. You’re welcome.

Current Promotions – Paddling Pools

Dinosaur Pool
Be hip and cool like these fun kids.

Summer has finally come upon us in these early days of July and it is like the prodigal son returning if the prodigal son brought with him sweating and blinding uncertainty as to what to wear to keep you warm but not too warm and getting it heinously wrong each and every time, it is an absolute struggle. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in this sweltering heat with this rad and cool paddling pool!! And when you’re done cooling off with that, check out the rest of our summer toys range. And why not go the whole nine yards and check our full toys range too, it’s all great.

Double Your Retail Return – Alex Cochran

In this detailed five step plan, Alex Cochran promises to get you doubling your net profit without having to spend a single cent. Cochran’s blog is populated with tips and tricks on expanding your business and maximising profits and this guide is no exception. ‘Double Your Retail Return’ uses lots of diagrams, bullet points and business-sounding initialisms such as GPROSI in order to whip your business into shape. A must-read for any retailer looking to increase their profit margins.

HSA Guide for Safe Workplace

A solid few minutes were spent debating whether or not to title this post with some ‘Safety Dance’ lyrics but given that safety is THE most important topic we could discuss the council ultimately conceded that that would be a bad call. Maybe some other time.

What’s a GOOD call, however, is making sure the risk statements and safety assessments for your business are up to scratch. If you don’t know what these are, you absolutely need to. And you’re in luck cause here’s a handy link to the HSA‘s dandy guide on making such statements and assessments. The document walks you through the main health hazards you or your employees are liable to, how to minimalize these risks and what to do if something does happen. It lays out all your legal requirements as an employer in easy-to-understand terms which will make it much easier to avoid any accidents in the future. The guide also prepares you to write your own safety and health policy and even includes a number of forms at the very end to fill out and get yourself sorted. Safety is important, go check it out!!

Grey is the New Black

It can be difficult enough finding a target audience to target with your assortment of amazing goods and products, which is why it’s important to not automatically write off any particular group of potential customers. In their study ‘Grey is the New Black‘ conducted on the behalf of Retail ExcellenceBehaviour & Attitudes found that many retailers dismiss older people as a potential demographic because they are all notoriously stuffy and penny-pinching and upsetting to look at obviously. However if we let go of these misconceptions, it becomes clear that this significant portion of the population (nearly 23%) is continuously undervalued as a possible market. For example, over 82% of the age 65+ demographic agreed that they had no large financial commitments as opposed to only 23% of the age 25-49 group. While this study was conducted in 2011, many of the observations still ring true today, maybe even moreso now than back then; the study remarks that while older people are not associated with being tech-savvy, many in this group have come to embrace such technologies as Sky+ Television and Skype. This study is an excellent read if you are looking to expand your market into this underappreciated demographic as it not only includes statistics and figures but also market research into this group to see what older people appreciate in their customer care.