There has been a call for the development of new hotel properties after a Fáilte Ireland report found that limitations on accommodation capacity in key areas are a major barrier to future growth. Reports have shown that business is strong from overseas visitors and bookings and performance are ahead of last year, despite a decline in U.K candidates,
Total overseas arrivals to Ireland from January to August show a record 6.7 million visitors, which is an increase of 2.5%.This increase comes from an increase in the number of North American visitors, up by 18%. This increase shows that North Americans have overtaken UK visitors, traditionally the most important group to the Irish hospitality industry, in terms of revenue spent.
There have been 5 hotels opening this decade in Dublin City Centre and only 1 new hotel opening this year. Property management company JLL have called upon industry stakeholders including planning authorities, hoteliers and developers to encourage and pursue the development of new hotels in the capital’s city centre.
Commenting on the report, Senior Vice President at JLL, Dan O’Connor said, “New hotel rooms are urgently needed in Dublin City and we welcome the publication of Failte Ireland’s latest SOAR report which calls for new hotel supply now.” e added, “With one of the highest hotels occupancy levels of any European City, new hotel supply is necessary to cater for the significant leisure, corporate and group demand now facing Dublin City. We will lose out on millions of spend for the capital, if we don’t deliver new hotel and apart-hotel supply swiftly.”
SuperValu and Tesco are neck and neck in the fiercely fought battle to be Ireland’s largest supermarket as the crucial Christmas period fast approaches.
According to the latest figures published by Kantar Worldpanel both retail giants are neck and neck in 1st place with 22.0% of overall grocery market share. Both retailers have seen sales growth in the 12 weeks ending 8 October and this has contributed to the tie for top spot. Tesco has seen strong growth of 4.2%, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from this time last year. SuperValu has also seen an increase in sales up 0.5%. SuperValu and Tesco have both been successful in encouraging customers to spend more in store, SuperValu has seen consumers spend an additional 40 cents per basket on average while Tesco has encouraged its shoppers to increase their shop by €1.
Dunnes Stores sits in third place, 0.1 percentage points behind the top two. Lidl and Aldi both increasing sales year on year – up 3.0% and 2.8% respectively. Both posted small gains in their share of the market with Lidl’s market share increased to 11.7%, while Aldi’s rose by 0.1 percentage point to 11.6%.Deflation has eased and overall, supermarket sales are up 2.1% year on year. Dave Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel says “With the festive period just around the corner – the time of year when sales spike and shoppers aren’t afraid to spend that little bit extra – the competition shows no signs of abating.”
In good news for brands, there has been a shift back towards branded goods after the recent trend for own-label goods. This time last year, the sales of branded items dropped by 0.5% compared to 2015. This trend seems to be reversing with sales up by 1.3%. According to Mr Berry, “At Christmas, shoppers tend to flock back to brands – partly for sentimental reasons and also as people are tempted to trade up at this time of year – so with the countdown to the festive season now well and truly underway, it’s likely we’ll see this trend continues into the new year.”
CEO of Excel Recruitment Barry Whelan offers his thoughts on yesterday’s Budget and its effects on both the retail and hospitality industries
Budget day is always a big news day and yesterday’s announcement by Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe was no different. Among the old reliables and headline items, there were few big-ticket wins for business owners but the income changes, reductions in USC and increases in social welfare will be a welcome way to encourage and increase consumer spending. There was a number of important measures that will affect both the retail and hospitality sectors, both directly and indirectly. Below are some of the highs and lows….
9% VAT retained- Firstly, I was delighted to hear that VAT at 9% was retained. Excel’s hospitality division has long supported the #KeepVatat9 campaign and its retention yesterday will be greeted with a sigh of relief from many in the hospitality industry. The rate is crucial in keeping not only the tourism and hospitality industries but the Irish economy as a whole, encouraging overseas visitors, economic growth and jobs nationwide. The move will also benefit retailers in tourist hubs.
Sugar tax- While it was a surprise to no-one, many retailers will still be concerned about the sugar tax introduced yesterday. The new tax will mean a 30 cent per litre of tax will be placed on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml. The tax has caused huge controversy and debate, with major lobby groups campaigning furiously for and against in the months leading to the budget. There are still vastly varying opinions about whether it will exactly make a difference and its success in the UK, Mexico, France and beyond. It is important that the results are monitored closely to ensure the tax fulfils its public health agenda.
Cigarettes & Alcohol- A price hike for cigarettes is always on the cards but it’s still going to agitate retailers, particularly when combined with the new sugar tax. The hike will undoubtedly lead to the increase in cross-border shopping and cigarette smuggling, already big problems for hard-working retailers. There will be mixed feelings regarding excise duty on alcohol, relief that it hasn’t gone up but also disappointment it hasn’t be reduced, particularly with the worry of structural separation still hanging over retailers heads.
Brexit Loan Scheme- While it’s still unclear what the Brexit Loan Scheme will look like, the €300m scheme will still a welcome announcement for SMEs trying to safeguard against the unknowns of Brexit. As the only country to have a land border with the U.K and the country bound to be most affected when the U.K leave the EU, it’s vital we begin to protect vulnerable businesses. The success of the scheme will rely on how quickly the details can be ironed out. How competitive will the ‘competitive rates’ be? What will be the eligibility requirements be? How will the government ensure those business most in need will avail of the Scheme?