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Off-trade takes up pub slack for St Patrick’s Week

Off-sales were up 17 per cent in volume and 9.1 per cent in value this March compared to the same month in 2010 when a dip of 4.8 per cent in volume and 5.5 per cent in value was recorded (over March 2009), according to Nielsen Ireland which pointed out that pubs continue to suffer as the availability of cheap alcohol in shops, especially supermarkets, continues to drive consumers toward social trends such as drinking and entertaining at home.

“In Off-Trade, Multiples drove the growth and accounted for over half the Total Off-Trade alcohol sales for St Patrick’s week 2011,” stated the research company, “However Convenience and Off-Licences also experienced a much better performance vs 2010 by responding to consumer demand, reducing prices and providing good offers to entice consumers in. Looking at the figures we can see that volume grew ahead of value indicating strong use of price promotion to attract customers.

“St Patrick’s week 2011 saw Long Alcoholic Drinks volume sales in Multiples increase for the second consecutive year, up plus nine per cent on St Patrick’s week 2010 (value sales increased by plus five per cent, however remained below 2009 figures). A heavy reliance on promotions was a key driver of volume sales. Almost half of all LAD unit sales were sold on promotion in St Patrick’s Week (vs 40 per cent in Spirits & Liquors), up from only 27 per cent a year ago. This was driven by Lager and Cider. Cider in particular more than doubled the percentage sold on deal (53 per cent vs 22 per cent a year ago).”

Specialist off-licences grew sales values by 12.6 per cent compared to St Patrick’s Week in 2010 on a volume sales increase of 29.8 per cent, indicating an 16.2 per cent volume increase on an MAT basis and a 0.5 per cent decrease in sales values on the same basis.

According to Nielsen, “Along with increased promotional activity, the Off-Trade has seen a move to multipacks and value packs as reduced disposable incomes and a more value-driven economy drive consumers to actively seek the best value available. This is represented clearly in the Top 10 Best Sellers in Multiples St Patrick’s Week 2011”.

The Top 10 sellers in the multiples accounted for over 45 per cent of overall volume sold.

Bottled Budweiser in a 20-pack  topped the list of LAD Best Sellers in St Patrick’s Week with a volume growth of 11 per cent and with prices 29 Cent down on the same time last year.

500ml canned Guinness in eight-pack format followed this with a growth of 10 per cent in volume sales through a reduction of €1.02 in prices compared to the same period in 2010.

The 20-pack of bottled Miller came third with a volume increase of five per cent and a 46 Cent increase in price.
Canned eight-pack Budweiser took fourth place with a sales growth of four per cent and a price drop of €3.25 while the single can of Carlsberg claimed fifth place with a volume increase of three per cent through a 56 Cent reduction in price compared to St Patrick’s Week 2010.

The latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Survey reported that two thirds of people are cutting down on out-of-home entertainment with a quarter stating they will continue to do so post-recession. While there are some hopes for economic recovery in Ireland this year, price inflation, unemployment and increasing bills squeezing disposable income look set to remain pressing issues, according to Nielsen. Consumer spending is expected to remain modest, with consumer concerns continuing to influence drinking and entertaining trends for the near future.

“2011 will see lifestyle changes and spending patterns therefore continue to challenge the On-Trade, shifting Irish culture itself, especially in rural Ireland where pubs are historically vital social hubs in communities,” it concludes, “The swing to Off-Trade and purchasing cheaper alcohol in off-licences and supermarkets however will provide opportunities for both manufacturers and retailers alike. For supermarkets and smaller channels, opportunity will come through providing good value and offers, particularly at seasonal times like St Patrick’s Week. For players with considerable product portfolios or a limited on-trade presence, communicating availability and tapping into the latest off-trade drinking occasions could be the key to increasing sales in an otherwise difficult environment this year.”

“St Patrick’s week 2011 saw Long Alcoholic Drinks volume sales in Multiples increase for the second consecutive year, up plus nine per cent on St Patrick’s week 2010”.

“St Patrick’s week 2011 saw Long Alcoholic Drinks volume sales in Multiples increase for the second consecutive year, up plus nine per cent on St Patrick’s week 2010”.

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