Beast from the East’s €10m boost

The ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma may have caused havoc to Ireland’s transport sector but the cold snap provided a huge boost to the Irish grocery market – particularly alcohol sales, according to Nielsen’s retail performance data.

Wine sales rose by €2.6 million followed by beer which was up by €2.4 million. And in terms of relative growth, categories such as stout (up 37%) and cider (up 30%) also did very well.

The beauty of the beast for grocery retail was that people spent more on almost every single category,” said Matt Clark, Nielsen’s Commercial Director in Ireland, “The weather warnings and near-curfew-type advice meant uncertainty was a major driver of people buying more groceries. However, the real growth was not in staples such as bread and milk but indulgent categories such as alcohol, confectionery and snacks.

It was as though an unexpected holiday mood prevailed with consumers tempted to treat themselves during the lock-down. For retailers, it was a case of warm trade winds blowing in – particularly for convenience stores as the few shopping forays could only be done on foot.”
Alcohol was the biggest winner in terms of the incremental amount of €uro spent compared to the previous week and independent off-licences might have found themselves down on business in subsequent days.

Overall, shoppers spent €9.6 million more on groceries (4% up) in the week of the storms than they did the week before that and €15.2 million extra (6% more) was spent than in the same week a year ago.
The biggest beneficiary was the convenience store which accounted for 56% of the increased spend (vs the previous week) compared to 44% for the multiples and discounters. Convenience stores normally account for 36% of grocery sales.


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