Business Irish

Tuesday 16 October 2018

We spent an extra €2.6m on wine during Storm Emma...

While the Beast from the East may have caused havoc for some businesses, it provided a huge boost to the grocery market.
While the Beast from the East may have caused havoc for some businesses, it provided a huge boost to the grocery market.
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Small shops grabbed a massive 50pc of the grocery market during Storm Emma as supermarkets struggled to stay open and stay stocked during the extreme weather.

While the Beast from the East caused havoc for some, it provided a huge boost to the grocery market, with shoppers spending €9.6m (4pc) more on groceries in the week of the storm than they did the week before. It was also up €15.2m on the same week in 2017.

Smaller convenience shops benefited most from the increased spend, accounting for 56pc of the €9.6m extra that was spent, according to data from performance management company Nielsen.

To put it into context, normally convenience stores account for just over a third of all grocery sales.

"The weather warnings and near-curfew type advice meant uncertainty was a major driver of people buying more groceries," Matt Clark, Nielsen's commercial director in Ireland, said.

"It was as though an unexpected holiday mood prevailed with consumers tempted to treat themselves during the lock-down.

Small shops came out tops over larger supermarkets as consumers stocked up on vital supplies when the Beast from the East and Storm Emma battered Ireland earlier this month.
Small shops came out tops over larger supermarkets as consumers stocked up on vital supplies when the Beast from the East and Storm Emma battered Ireland earlier this month.

"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."

And while bread may have dominated the headlines during Storm Emma, alcohol was the biggest winner in terms of the additional amount of euro spent compared to the previous week, with €2.6m more spent on wine, according to the data from Nielsen.

Sales of beer also performed strongly, up €2.4m during the week of the storm, with stout and cider also selling well.

"The beauty of the beast for grocery retail was that people spent more on almost every single category," Mr Clark said.

Billy Cardiff clears the road outside his home in Taghmon, Co Wexford following Storm Emma. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Billy Cardiff clears the road outside his home in Taghmon, Co Wexford following Storm Emma. Photo: Gerry Mooney

"However, the real growth was not in staples such as bread and milk, but indulgent categories such as alcohol, confectionery and snacks."

Looking at what people were buying to eat during the during the worst snowfall seen in Ireland since 1982, frozen food sales were up, with consumers stocking up on convenient and long-lasting meals. Within the frozen food category, there was especially strong sales of pizza and garlic bread, both of which recorded week-on-week growth of 59pc and 47pc respectively.

Unsurprisingly, the other big winner during Storm Emma was home-fire ignition products, which saw a €1m additional rise in sales, up 63pc on the previous week.

According to insurers FBD, the estimated that the damage wreaked by the snowstorm will cost it between €6m and €8m.

The net cost of Storm Emma to FBD, the only insurer listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, is more than the €5.4m in net claims it paid out after Storm Ophelia in October, after the ex-hurricane hurtled across the country causing widespread destruction and leaving three dead.

"Storm Emma has resulted in significant property damage and we have been working with our customers to compensate them for the damage caused to their homes, farms and businesses," FBD said earlier this month.

Following Storm Ophelia FBD received gross claims of between €10m and €11m. But its reinsurance programme meant the net cost to FBD was €5.4m.

Irish Independent

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