And trade is down by more than 15% for those still in business according to Chief Executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association.
Vincent Jennings said local shop owners are facing a huge uphill battle to keep their open signs up.
He warned the recession is taking its toll with the government, banks and wholesalers heaping more pressure on shopkeepers.
“Banks are withdrawing overdraft and loan facilities leaving some shop-owners unable to weather the economic storm.
“Suppliers are increasing their wholesale prices, which the retailer cannot pass on to hard-pressed customers,” he said.
Family-run and local shops are also facing the increasing threat of anti-social behaviour as well as an increase in shoplifting and hold-ups, he added.
He also urged local authorities not to see the local shop owner as a soft touch for easy revenue but to set ‘realistic rates and fair charges’.
‘Our customers value the convenience of shopping in well appointed stores open at times and in locations that suit them.
“But the actions of the government, banks and wholesalers make it very hard for our members to survive without compromising on the value and service the shopper wants’, said Mr. Jennings.
Accountants and business advisers are meeting Donegal shop owners on a daily basis trying to work out business survival plans, he said.
He claimed government policy of implementing ‘excessive excises and VAT hikes’ is playing a major role in the sector’s dire difficulties.