General Industry

Irish Hospitality Sector Sees Boost In The First Three Months Of 2024

By Robert McHugh
Irish Hospitality Sector Sees Boost In The First Three Months Of 2024

Sales in the Republic of Ireland’s hospitality sector were €54 million higher in the first three months of 2024 than in the same period last year, according to research from CGA by NIQ.

The figures show that while outlet numbers in the Republic fell by 2.4% after closures, the rate of sale (ROS) increased by 2.4%.

CGA by NIQ noted that sales were particularly strong in March, due to key events including St Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and the end of the Six Nations rugby tournament, which was won by Ireland.

‘Slow Start’

“Despite a slow start to the year because of increased participation in Dry January, it’s been a bright first quarter for Ireland’s pubs, bars and suppliers,” said Sian Brennan, CGA by NIQ’s client director (Ireland).

“Consumers are as keen as ever to eat and drink out – especially on special occasions, when memories are made.

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“However, it’s important to note that much of the sales growth has been powered by inflation, and that spending remains tight for many people.”

Drinks Sales

The research shows that drinks sales by volume were fractionally down, year on year, and growth was instead powered by an average uplift in prices of 9.7%.

Volumes have not yet returned to pre-Covid levels, with totals in the first quarter of 2024 8.6% lower than in the first three months of 2019.

Cost-Of-Living Crisis

Spending continues to be compromised by the cost-of-living crisis, the report shows, with two thirds (65%) of consumers saying that they are moderately or severely affected by rising costs, though March showed that the large majority remain eager to visit pubs, bars and restaurants.

Three quarters (77%) of Ireland’s consumers agree that eating and drinking out is the treat to which they most look forward.

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Pubs Perform Best

The research shows that pubs have been Ireland’s biggest winners in the first quarter of 2024.

The share of pub drink sales increased by 0.9 percentage points in the year to the end of March.

‘Changing Needs’

CGA by NIQ suggests that this was due, in large part, to family-focused occasions and sports screenings, while restaurants lost 0.5 percentage points.

The rural regions of Ireland, meanwhile, slightly outperformed Dublin, as increased costs led some consumers to move away from city centres for eating and drinking.

“All venues and suppliers will need to stay laser focused on delivering both high-quality and good-value experiences and respond nimbly to people’s changing needs and preferences,” said Brennan.