Heatwave sees barbecues, ice cream and cider snapped up

Winners and losers: Some retailers faring better than others in hot weather conditions

Barbecues, ice cream, and ciders have been snapped up by sun-kissed Irish consumers during the recent spell of hot weather, with many retailers across the State reporting significant boosts in trade.

Vintners' Federation of Ireland chief executive Padraig Cribben said pubs with beer gardens or those located near the sea were enjoying the best of it, but that some of these businesses were "hovering up" the footfall from other areas.

“It’s great if you’re in the right location with beer gardens etc, particularly in touristy areas and near the seaside,” he said. “That’s one side of the coin. The other side is that those areas tend to hoover up the trade.

“People are in good form, and they’re out and about, so they’re more likely to spend a bit. It depends very much where you are. Touristy areas are reporting very strong business.”


Mr Cribben said a negative factor for publicans was a fall-off in people eating big lunches. “People are going outside with a salad for their lunch rather than going in and having something to eat,” he said.

“It can also have an effect on food sales when people are barbecuing at home. Products like cider and lager tend to enjoy a bit of a boom time, but spirits and stouts have a more challenging time of it.”

Retail Excellence chief executive Lorraine Higgins said shops selling garden furniture and barbecues were faring best. "Barbecue sales are hitting record highs according to a number of garden centres," she said.

Ms Higgins said a number of restaurants and coffee shops are reporting a decline in sales. “People aren’t eating out,” she said. “They’re barbecuing in the back garden and inviting their friends around. Wine sales are up.

“Discretionary spend in terms of high end luxury shopping isn’t happening right now, but people are going the extra mile in terms of clothing they might require or groceries and alcohol.

“People are using their gardens as an extra living room. They aren’t making their way into town centres to buy. There’s been a fall in footfall as a result. Obviously that has a negative impact on retail in town centres.”

A spokeswoman for the Irish Hotels Federation said the fine weather was contributing to an increase in so-called "stay-cations".

“It encourages people to take more short breaks at home. It also encourages overseas visitors who are staying in cities to actually travel around the country. So it greatly benefits businesses outside of the hotspots.”

Sean Kelly, who owns Kelly’s Butchers in Newport, Co Mayo, said there was a “very big bounce” for barbecue products, but that other items were suffering.

“As for the roast beef or anything like that, it’s dead in the water,” he said. “You couldn’t give a roast beef away. Who the hell wants it? We’re making different types of burgers and different types of kebabs.

“We have chicken fillets on a stick. Don’t be talking about it. Just do it. We’re making a lamb sausage here, which is going very well.

“We’ve starting doing something that we’ve never done before: we’re doing a hotdog. A Kellydawg we call it. They’re going very well for us.

Mr Kelly said trade was up about 1 per cent compared to the same week last year.

“I’m very happy with that, because if you sell a roast beef, the volume of money you’re taking in is much bigger,” he said. “But we’re selling an awful lot more kebabs and burgers.”

On the other hand, Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said the industry was “suffering” currently.

“Business is down because people don’t eat as much in the hot weather,” he said. “It’s having a negative effect on income for our industry. We’re hoping it will get a little milder. A drop in temperatures would be good for us.”

In Dún Laoghaire, Yasmin Khan, manager of Teddy’s ice cream shop, said the current period would make up for a slow start to the season. “We’re busy, busy at this time of the year,” she said. “We are particularly busy with the weather.

“We’re working really hard. There was a very bad start to this season, so I would say that at the end of the year it will probably level out. Certainly we’ve been selling an awful lot more ice cream for the last three weeks than we were this time last year.”

Ikea Ireland market manager Claudia Marshall said the furniture giant recorded its best year of sales for its outdoor range.

“Customers are favouring outdoor dining accessories suitable for barbecues and picnics,” she said. “We’re also seeing a strong preference for outdoor decoration like plants, plant pots, decorative lighting to make the outdoors as stylish as the indoors.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter