Increasing consumer confidence fuelled by a loosening of the purse-strings seems to have put those visiting the country’s pubs and off-licences into a festive mood, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.
“While Christmas itself was good, the couple of weeks before it were the best for some years,” reported one publican on the outskirts of Dublin.
And Dublin pubs themselves enjoyed a bumper Christmas splashout.
“Pubs in the city had a very good Christmas,” confirmed LVA Chairman Oliver Hughes.
Outside the capital most pubs enjoyed their share of a higher Christmas spend.
“All of the evidence suggests it was a very good Christmas,” stated VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “A level of increasing confidence coupled with some additional disposable income reflected itself in higher footfall and spend.
“Some areas were adversely effected by the weather conditions” he added, “but otherwise all the anecdotal evidence suggests very good trading.”
The indications of a higher Christmas spend were apparent in the previous month’s retail spend in bars and pubs. Retail Ireland, the IBEC group representing the retail sector, said that provisional CSO retail sales figures for November pointed to a strong Christmas period for retail in general.
Despite a drop of 0.1% in bar sales volumes in November compared to the previous month, October, on an annual basis provisional CSO figures for November indicate a growth of 5.1%.
A fall of 0.7% in bar sales values from October to November was overshadowed by a 5.6% growth compared to November 2014.
Over the three months September to November bar sales volumes were up by 5.9% on the same three-month period in 2014 but were up by just 1.0% on the previous three months June to August 2015.
Provisional bar sales values from the CSO showed an increase of 6.4% compared to the September-November period in 2014 and by 0.9% compared to the June to August 2015 figure.
“The strong growth in retail sales in November is encouraging” commented Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke, “and it appears that fears of a slump ahead of the key Christmas and New Year sales period were unfounded with month-on-month growth of close to 1.6% recorded in November.”
“The broad base of the recovery in retail sales is also notable with all of the core retail categories posting growth in the year to the end of November. Hopefully this positive trend in retail sales can continue into 2016, with recent budget tax reductions taking effect this month.
“Later this month we will receive confirmation of the performance of the retail sector over the crucial Christmas period. December is the single most important trading month for the sector and we’re confident that our pre-Christmas forecast of an increase of 3.5% on Christmas 2014 will be realised if not exceeded. These numbers will be crucial in determining the overall performance of the sector in 2015.”
Final figures for October from the CSO indicate that bar sales volumes were up 6.4% on October 2014. They were also up by 2.0% on the previous month, September 2015.
Sales values were up 7.4% annually and by 2.2% on September 2015.