Spending in pubs and restaurants bounced back in July

Bank of Ireland’s debit and credit card data shows overall retail spend down 3% with outlay on clothing and groceries both dropping

Spending on social activities in pubs and restaurants bounced back last month after posting negative numbers in June, according to Bank of Ireland’s debit and credit card data.

Bank of Ireland said spending in July was largely flat, with a 1 per cent total monthly fall recorded, as a mixed picture emerged across business sectors.

While other age groups mainly decreased their July spending, teenagers engaged in “a major increase” of 17 per cent, a trend which had also been reflected in June.

There was an uptick in social spending (+2 per cent), as spending in pubs (+4 per cent), restaurants (+3 per cent) and in fast-food outlets (+1 per cent) recorded positive figures having all posted negative spending figures in June.


The improved weather also saw a spending hike in cinemas of just 5 per cent, a stark drop from June’s cinema spending rise of 25 per cent. Spending in bakeries was also 5 per cent higher.

Overall, spending in the retail sector was down 3 per cent, with outlay on clothing (-10 per cent) and groceries (-1 per cent) both dropping, but spending on petrol rising (5 per cent) as forecourt fuel prices levelled off somewhat nationwide.

On a regional level, the spending patterns were broadly flat, with similar spending levels recorded in Limerick (-3 per cent), Cork (-2 per cent), Kildare (-1 per cent), Mayo (-1 per cent), Donegal (-1 per cent) and Waterford (-1 per cent).

Foreign spending rose in popular European hotspots like Croatia (+28 per cent), Portugal (+9 per cent) and Italy (+5 per cent), while intense heatwaves in the likes of Cyprus (-13 per cent) and Turkey (-3 per cent) saw spending drop off.

Bank of Ireland’s Jilly Clarkin said: “The sun was shining in July and we were doing less shopping and more socialising. However, the spending picture was a mixed one, with some sectors performing well and others flatlining or dropping slightly.

“This spending restraint was not just in a small number of counties, it was nationwide, and while the overall drop was small, it will be interesting to monitor over the coming months to determine if it’s becoming a trend.

“For the Irish abroad, Croatia was leading the charge in month-on-month spending increases in popular holiday destinations.

“Another interesting element in July was that spending among teenagers soared, with a notable monthly increase of 17 per cent, which was similar to May and June trends and perhaps reflects a less cautious attitude than the rest of us.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter