The survey of over 550 pubs, restaurants, hotels and independent off-licences found that almost half (47%) had to hire additional staff over the holiday period.
64% of respondents said that the Government’s decision not to increase excise duty in the budget had a positive effect on Christmas trading.
The return of emigrants to Ireland over the festive season was also a factor, with 35% of respondents stating that a proportion of their customers over the Christmas period were retuning emigrants, with 22% stating that between 10% and 20% of customers were returning emigrants.
“As the economy continues to strengthen and people begin to feel this improvement in their pockets, we’re seeing a marked increase in the number of people socialising in towns and villages across the country,” commented Bart Storan, Campaign Manager for Support Your Local, “While this survey focused on the Christmas period, which saw a marked improvement in trade compared with last year, an important consideration in 2015 is how we can sustain this growth.
“It’s clear that Government incentives like the 9% VAT rate and the decision not to increase excise on alcohol in Budget 2015 are injecting confidence into small businesses across the hospitality industry. This, matched with our improving economy can lead to more staff being taken on in these businesses on a long-term basis. The hospitality industry is one of the few industries that has presence in every town and village across the country. The Government must continue to support jobs in this industry in 2015 to help mitigate against two-tiered recovery.”