Your business week: Irish retail sales, Greencore’s agm

December’s consumer spending will show how real the threat of e-commerce is to traditional retail


Results: Whirlpool, Caterpillar.

Indicators: Irish retail sales (Dec), overseas travel (Dec); Euro zone loan growth and money supply (Dec); US exports and imports (No), retail sales (Dec), construction spending (Nov), factory orders (Nov).

December’s spending

Consumer spending in December gives not only an important insight into confidence and the economy, but given the shopping season it is also a glimpse into exactly how real the threat of e-commerce is to traditional retail.

There has already been something of a sneak preview on official Central Statistics Office (CSO) data due to be released on Monday. And the results, from a Visa survey, were not encouraging for the sector.

It found that spending fell 0.3 per cent in December compared with 2017, having risen 1.1 per cent in November. Face-to-face spending dropped 3.9 per cent after falling 4.3 per cent in November.

"The high street's continued struggle contributed to the first decline in overall household spending since February 2017," said Visa Ireland country manager Philip Konopik. "While the dip in spending is marginal, it's reflective of an overall slowdown in the rate of expansion throughout the last quarter of 2018."

On the other hand, e-commerce spending rose by 10 per cent.

Last year, the CSO reported the volume of December retail sales had risen 7.2 per cent on 2016.


Results: Apple, Xerox, Harley Davidson, eBay, Pfizer,

Meetings: UK House of Commons Brexit vote; Greencore Group agm (Conrad Hotel, Dublin); UDG Healthcare agm (Westbury Hotel, Grafton Street, Dublin 2); Finance Leadership Summit (RDS, Dublin 4).

Greencore’s update

Convenience food group Greencore will hold its annual general meeting on Tuesday at which the company will discuss its intention to return £509 million (€580 million) to investors.

The company issued details of its plans in December, in which it pitched a tender offer priced at £1.95 per ordinary share. It aims to acquire up to 261 million shares, about 37 per cent of its issued share capital.

The move has followed a surprise market announcement that it was to sell its US-based business to Hearthside Foods for just over €1 billion.

The tender offer opened on December 20th and will close on Tuesday. Cash payments are expected by early February.

The move has prompted some shareholder concern regarding the tax implications of the proposed scheme which requires shareholder approval.

Greencore produces three out of every five sandwiches sold in the UK. The company will issue a trading update on the same day.

Meanwhile, UDG healthcare will hold its annual agm on the same day, and is also set to issue an update.


Results: Mondelez International, Wizz Air Holdings, Alibaba, AT&T, Boeing, McDonald's, Microsoft, Facebook, PayPal, Motorola Solutions, Tesla, Visa.

Indicators: Euro zone business and consumer confidence (Jan), consumer inflation expectations (Jan), economic, industrial and services sentiment (Jan); UK consumer credit (Dec), net lending to individuals (Dec), mortgage lending (Dec); German consumer confidence (Feb), import prices (Dec), inflation (Jan); US GDP (Q4).

Meetings: Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment in Ireland's "Are You Fit & Proper" event on the introduction of the Minimum Competency Code (Westbury Hotel, Grafton Street, Dublin 2); Dublin Chamber's Tourism Briefing and Networking event (Irish Whiskey Museum, Grafton Street, Dublin 2); Institute for International and European Affairs hosts "State of the Union" address by Tánaiste Simon Coveney (Gresham Hotel, O'Connell Street, Dublin 1).


Results: Amazon, General Electric, Mastercard, UPS.

Indicators: Euro zone unemployment (Dec), GDP flash (Q4); UK consumer confidence (Jan), house prices (Jan); German retail sales (Dec), unemployment (Jan); US PCE price index (Dec), personal income and spending (Dec).

Meetings: National Power Summit on decarbonisation and Ireland's power needs (Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 3); ESRI seminar series: Labour market concerns and support for immigration (Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson's Quay, Dublin 2); Institute for International and European Affairs seminar on small economies featuring Michael O'Sullivan, managing director of Credit Suisse (IIEA, North Great George's Street, Dublin 1).


Results: Merck, Aon, Exxon Mobil.

Indicators: Irish manufacturing PMI (Jan); Euro zone manufacturing PMI (Jan), inflation (Jan); UK manufacturing PMI (Jan); German manufacturing PMI (Jan); US non-farm payrolls and unemployment (Jan), manufacturing PMI (Jan), consumer expectations and sentiment (Jan), vehicle sales (Jan).