Vast majority of publicans gloomy about trade, claims report

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From the Irish Examiner

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The overwhelming majority of publicans expect trade to worsen, while three-quarters report a continuing decline in customer spending on drink, a study has shown.

Spending on food is also down, according to a survey carried out on behalf of the country ’s two vintners ’ groups. More than nine out of 10 publicans attribute much of the decline in trade to the smoking ban and to stricter drink-driving laws.

According to the survey, conducted by accounting firm RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, 82% expect the pub trade to decline further, while 92% said they were of the view that the tightening of drink-driving laws has had an impact on the extent to which people visit their local pub.

The survey was undertaken last year in partnership with the Licensed Vintners Association and Vintners Federation of Ireland and was conducted among 415 respondents.

“One of the most significant findings is 76% reported a fall in spending on drink, with 68% reporting that spending on food was also down,” said Deirdre Kiely, head of audit, Advisory & Assurance at RSM Farrell Grant Sparks.

Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland which represents publicans outside Dublin, said the survey adds to the growing data that shows just how difficult conditions are.

“Notwithstanding the shift in culture towards health and drinking alcohol, the lack of disposable income and competition from grocery chains that can sell alcohol below cost price are just two factors that contribute to a bleak outlook for the future of the Irish pub and for publicans in Ireland,” he said.