In the papers this week 7 – 13 Nov 2009

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Pictured: Conor Hanley of FIRE1, Eimear McCrann and Roger Wallace of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (Photograph: Naoise Culhane)

Christmas spending set to fall by more than 20%; CSO reveals consumer prices are 6.6% lower; ISME launches ‘Think Irish, Buy Irish’ campaign for Christmas



13 November 2009

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Irish consumers will spend on average 22% less this Christmas, according to the annual Deloitte consumer survey of Christmas spending. The Irish Examiner reports that Ireland, which has traditionally been the biggest Christmas spender, falls to second place in the European spending table behind Luxembourg. The survey shows the average spend per household here this festive season will be €1,110, of which €265 will be spent on food; 6% less than last year.


In light of such reduced sales forecasts, half of businesses expect to lay off some staff in the countdown to Christmas, a new survey by IBEC group Retail Ireland has revealed. The Irish Independent highlights that two-thirds of IBEC members surveyed said they expected profits to be down on the same period last year, while 46% said they expected to introduce redundancies before the end of the month.



A Fianna FáIl councillor has launched a blistering attack on cross-border shoppers, reports the Irish Examiner. Cork City Cllr Seán Martin said people in the south have a moral obligation to shop here, especially during a recession. Following the release of a report which revealed soaring unemployment at a city council meeting on Monday, Martin said he has a huge personal and moral problem with cross-border shopping.




Meanwhile consumer prices fell by 0.2% last month and were on average 6.6 per cent lower than in October 2008, according to new figures from the Central Statistic Office (CSO). The Irish Times reveals that while the most significant reductions occurred in housing, clothing and furnishings, there was also a 6.4% decline in the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol and tobacco rose 7.1% over the same period, however.


Retailers say the CPI decrease occurred because of price cutting, reports Business World. Responding to the figures published by the CSO, Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan said: "Today’s figures are proof of both increased value for money for consumers and the extreme level of competition in the retail sector."

Forty independent retailers in Galway have launched a ‘Shop Local Galway’ initiative. The Irish Times reports stores including McCambridge’s foodstore and bakers Goya and The Gourmet Tart Co have asked shoppers to protect the unique character and diversity of the city by diverting 10% of their spend to local shops. According to the initiative’s promoters, the first Irish branch of the international Shop Local movement, three times more money stays within the local community when consumers favour independent retailers over multiples.


ISME has also launched a "Think Irish, Buy Irish" campaign in a bid to secure jobs. According to the business group, every €10 spent locally generates a further €24 benefit to the local economy. reports that retail sales are down a minimum of 9% on last year, but there is nevertheless still €90 million to be spent every day between now and Christmas.


The National Consumer Agency (NCA) has found price differences of up to 162% in the cost of over-the-counter medicines and personal care goods. The Irish Times outlines survey results which show that while supermarkets generally offer the lowest prices, independent pharmacies are sometimes cheaper than large pharmacy chains


An MP has tabled a House of Commons motion to keep Cadbury under British ownership. The Irish Independent reports that Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said Cadbury – which was celebrating 230 years of chocolate production in Bournville – had a strong legacy and "emotional commitment" in the area. Three other local MPs have also signed the motion which is thought will help ensure Cadbury keeps its investments in the UK.   


Following last week’s news that Marks & Spencer is set to introduce approx 400 branded goods across its UK stores, The Sunday Business Post reveals brands will also be available in stores here from next year. ‘‘It will be a phased roll-out next year in the 20 Irish stores, and will include some Irish brands," said a spokeswoman. The retailer has also confirmed plans to double its presence in Ireland over the next 10 years.


German discount retailer Aldi has acquired a 1.25 acre site in Portmarnock in north Dublin for approx €5 million. The Sunday Tribune reports the company is planning to open a discount foodstore on the site, with 75 parking spaces for customers.


Middle-class shoppers who have been hit by the recession are stealing hundreds of millions of pounds of expensive food in the UK, according to a new survey. The Times (UK) reports quality cuts of meat, fresh fish and high-priced cheeses are being taken by mostly middle-class women from speciality shops, where thefts have risen sharply in the past year.


In a further example of recession-led crime, The Irish Independent reports the number of people driving away from petrol stations without paying has increased 300% in the past 12 months. A Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) survey which questioned 175 members with service stations across the country, found they are losing an average of €4000 a year, due to drive-offs.


Tesco could be one step closer to opening Ireland’s biggest store in Banbridge, Co Down. According to local paper, The Banbridge Leader, recommendations regarding a new store at the town’s Bridgewater Park site have been passed from the Planning Appeals Commission to the Planning Service, and a final decision is expected from the Minister for the Environment within three months.


Tom Harper, managing director, The Nielsen Company, has responded in The Sunday Tribune to an article the paper published the previous week outlining market shares in the grocery sector. Harper points out for example that it would be more accurate to say SuperValu is "holding its position" rather than being "down" from 20.3% to 20%, this move allegedly being "well within the margin of error," based on a TNS sample of 3,000 households.    


Customs has seized its second multi-million cigarette haul in just over two weeks. The Evening Herald reports a massive eight tonnes of tobacco leaf, ready to be rolled into 12 million cigarettes, was discovered coming through Dublin Port on Monday on marked paper. According to the paper, sources believe the find is significant as it proves gangs are prepared to smuggle raw materials for black market cigarettes as well as the finished product.


J Sainsbury has posted first-half profits towards the top end of forecasts, with profit before tax and one-off items rising 19% to £307 million, The Irish Times reports. While Britain’s third biggest grocer has said it expects "market growth to slow due to reduced food price inflation" during the second half, sales nevertheless climbed 3.7% to £11.2 billion.




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