The licensed trade in the capital enjoyed “strong trading across the Dublin licensed trade over the Christmas period and it was a welcome fillip to their trade,” commented LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “What’s encouraging was that it seemed to be good across the entire Dublin trade with urban trade also enjoying a decent Christmas”.
This last comment is backed up by Derek Fowler in Malahide’s New Street who enjoyed a very good Christmas.
“It started a little bit late but the weekends before Christmas were really busy,” he reported, “Christmas week and the two following weeks were exceptionally good – we were up 12% to 15% on last year. If we’d been lineball with last year we’d have been happy.”
Across the road, Tony Gibney agreed that, “We were very very lucky this Christmas in that it fell right with people finishing work on the Friday. We were up, which is a Godsend and fanstastic because it shows that the market has settled. I think people are still tight for money but they prepared a little better. The late Budget was a real downer, but they knew it was coming and they prepared, had their money ready for Christmas and had their credit cards cleared”.
He expected January and February to be quiet though.
“Whether it will be quieter than last year I’m not sure, but when they have the money they will spend.”
Beyond Dublin, VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben reported that the general feedback on the Christmas period has been positive.
“There were two reasonably good weekends helped, in many cases, by a return of many emigrants and reasonably benign weather,” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “People were out and about and there was a reasonable level of spend.”
Publicans in Limerick, for example, appeared to enjoy good spending levels over the Festive Season.
“We’d a good Christmas but it’s gone back since then,” reported David Hickey of South’s in Quinlan Street, “The biggest problem publicans have is with disposable income and we don’t really know how that’s going to hit us until the rise in taxes and costs which have gone up hit through to the consumer. Of course, the Government gets 52 cent from every €uro going across the counter, still.”
In the North West, pubs enjoyed a strong Christmas too.
“The date fell well for us as it did in 2011,” reports Kevin Quinn at The Embassy Rooms, “We were slightly up on Christmas 2011. But we also rebranded a part of our nightclub as The Penthouse which we opened on 21st December. Obviously that would have helped.
“We had a good Christmas in both the last two years but it was quiet in the lead-up to that.”
Nevertheless, he feels from speaking to others in the trade that the Christmas spend was quite good despite a fairly tough Budget coming through with an increase in the drink prices; but it has been very quiet since, he says.