Beast From the East’s €10 Million Boost to Irish Grocery Retail
The ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma may have caused havoc to the transport sector but the cold snap provided a huge boost to the Irish grocery market, according to Nielsen retail performance data. Shoppers spent €9.6 million more on groceries (+4%) in the week of the storms than they did the week before and €15.2 million extra (+6%) than in the same week a year ago.
The biggest beneficiary were the convenience stores who accounted for 56% of the increased spend (vs. the previous week) compared to 44% for the multiples and discounters. Convenience stores normally account for 36% of grocery sales.
“The beauty of the beast for grocery retail was that people spent more on almost every single category,” said Matt Clark, Nielsen’s commercial director in Ireland. “The weather warnings and near-curfew type advice, meant uncertainty was a major driver of people buying more groceries. However, the real growth was not in staples such as bread and milk but indulgent categories such as alcohol, confectionery and snacks.
“It was as though an unexpected holiday mood prevailed with consumers tempted to treat themselves during the lock-down. For retailers, it was a case of warm trade winds blowing in – particularly for convenience stores as the few shopping forays could only be done on foot.”
Alcohol was the biggest winner in terms of the incremental amount of euros spent compared to the previous week. Wine sales rose €2.6 million, followed by beer at €2.4 million. In terms of relative growth, categories such as stout (+37%) and cider (+30%) also did very well.
After wine and beer, frozen food was the next biggest beneficiary (+€2.2 million) of the storms as shoppers stocked up on convenient and long-lasting meal options. The growth rate in relative terms was +28%, almost ten times frozen foods’ current annual growth (3%). Within frozen foods, pizza (+59%) and garlic bread (+47%) saw the largest relative rises.
Another big winner were home fire ignition products, which saw a €1.0 million incremental rise in sales (or a 63% relative rise).