In Dublin locations, as part of preparations for its FMCG Review of Christmas 2015, Nielsen recorded publicans as commenting in the run-up to Christmas that they were: “hopeful of increased spend, not expecting an increase in footfall” or “quietly confident we will have a better Christmas”, “hopeful of a better Christmas this year” and “Party bookings are up so that is a good sign”.
In rural locations however it recorded comments along the lines of: “November has been quiet so not that optimistic”, “any uplift likely to be in the towns and cities, we’re not experiencing it”, “won’t be doing anything different” and “don’t think trade will be up on last year”.
In the on-trade while alcohol volumes were up 0.2% MAT to December 15th, they were up 0.5% in the three-month period to 15th December but down 0.4% in December itself compared to December 2014, reported Matt Clark, Nielsen Ireland’s Commercial Director, who presented Nielsen’s FMCG Review of Christmas 2015 at the Tony Ryan Business Academy in Citywest Business Park recently.
On-trade sales values were up 2.0% MAT but they were only up by 1.4% in the three month period and by 0.8% in December itself.
Compared to two years ago on-trade wine sales were down 15% and beer level-pegged while cocktail sales were up 6%. In fact the only two pockets of on-trade growth in December itself were in premium spirits and craft ales.
Compared to two years ago, on-trade gin sales were up 29% in value and 25% in volume for December 2015 while whiskey was up 7% in value and 4% in volume. Ale was up 12% in value and 10% in volume.
According to Nielsen, stout and lager were the two biggest contributors to on-trade volume losses.