Ireland Foodservice Newsletter

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Ireland Foodservice Newsletter

Ireland Foodservice Newsletter


Tax revenues 7% below target for March, 2.4% lower for Q1 – 04.04.2017
Tax revenues in March were 7.6% lower than expected, while for the first quarter of the year revenues were 2.4% below target.  March tax income was €3.9 billion, around €326m less than expected. All of the big four tax headings – income tax, corporation tax, VAT and excise duties – brought in less tax than expected in March.  During the first quarter, income tax receipts were up 1.4% compared with the same period a year ago, but this was almost 4% - or €180m - below target.

Jobless rate fell to 6.4% in March - CSO – 06.04.2017
New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March fell to 6.4% from 6.6% in February.  This was the lowest level since June 2008 and was down from 8.3% the same time last year.  The Irish unemployment rate also compares with a current eurozone average of 9.5%. The levels of unemployment have fallen steadily since peaking at 15.1% in 2012 when the country was in the middle of a three-year international bailout. Merrion Economist Alan McQuaid said that employment prospects look very good again in 2017 due to the continued strong economic growth, and notwithstanding the Brexit risks.

Number of UK Visitors to Ireland down 5.9% – 31.03.2017
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has issued overseas travel figures for the period covering December 2016 to February 2017, revealing that the total overseas trips to Ireland was up by three  per cent to 1,740,900 on the corresponding period twelve months previously.  CSO reported that visitors from Britain were down by 5.9 per cent, however, there was an increase of one per cent in mainland European visitors and that the number of North American visitors grew by 38.2 per cent.  Other long-haul visitors were up by 20 per cent as well.  Speaking about the figures, Paul Kelly, the CEO of Fáilte Ireland commented: “Today’s figures, particularly the softening of British numbers,  reminds us that we cannot be complacent. The tourism sector trades in a changeable environment, therefore, it is crucial that we constantly work hard to attract new and additional business to our shores”.


Health food chain Chopped creates 320 jobs with opening of 20 new stores  – 12.04.2017
More than 300 jobs will be created across Ireland as health food chain Chopped opens 20 new stores across the country. The rapidly expanding franchise - which has turned the concept of fast food on its head - currently sells over 20,000 salads on a weekly basis from its 19 existing stores. By the end of 2017, some 320 jobs - both part-time and full-time - will be made available with the opening of the new stores in Wicklow, Cork, Waterford and Dublin.  A further 110 jobs will be created in the UK as Chopped grows internationally for the very first time, opening six new stores there.

Topaz and McDonald’s to create 330 new jobs along busy motorway routes in Cork and Carlow – 20.02.2017
Topaz and McDonald's are to create 330 new jobs in Cork and Carlow through the opening of two new Motorway Service Areas.  The new jobs will come from the construction and opening of two new state-of-the-art Topaz Motorway Service Stations.  They will be located along the M8 Cork/Dublin Road in Fermoy and the M9 Dublin/Waterford Road at Rathcrogue, Co. Carlow.  100 jobs will be created during the construction phase while 230 people will be employed upon the opening of the stations.

Good Friday alcohol sales ban to be abolished  – 08.04.2017
The Government is moving to lift the 90-year-old ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday.  Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is expected to signal that she will not oppose a Bill in the Seanad calling for the restriction to be abolished.  Government sources said this is a firm indication of a policy shift from the Minister for Justice.  The change is likely to come into effect for Good Friday 2018.


7 Irish Hotels have changed hands so far in 2017 – 07.03.2017
A total of 7 hotel properties, totalling more than €26 million between them, sold in Ireland during the first three months of 2017. This is according to Commercial Property Consultants, CBRE Ireland who have today released statistics on the volume and value of hotel sales in the Irish market in the first three months of 2017. Hotels that are currently being marketed which will boost transactional activity in the second half of 2017 include the Mount Wolesley Hotel in Carlow and Athlone Springs Hotel in Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Irish hotels that sold during the first quarter 2017 include the 104 bedroom D Hotel in Drogheda, Co. Louth and the 30 bedroom Clifton Court Hotel in Dublin city centre.

Dalata reports revenue of €290.6m as pre-tax profits surge 55pc to €44.1m – 28.02.2017
Dalata has reported pre-tax profits of €44.1m for the year ended 31 December 2016 - up 55pc for the same period the previous year.  Dalata operates Ireland's two largest hotel brands, Clayton Hotels and Maldron Hotels across Ireland and the UK. “2016 was a year that saw further significant growth in our portfolio adding seven hotels and c. 1,600 rooms to the business," Pat McCann, Dalata Group CEO, said. “We have also locked in a growth pipeline of 1,200 new hotel rooms which will come into operation during 2018. The Dublin hotel market continued to perform very strongly in 2016.  He continued, “There does finally appear to be some additional supply coming into the market from the second half of 2018, but I believe that demand in the city will comfortably absorb new capacity. The regional Ireland hotels also continued to perform very strongly for us and, with a minimal amount of new supply in the pipeline, we believe that the outlook for Cork, Limerick and Galway remains very positive."

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites Owners Confirm Expansion Plans – 10.04.2017
The owners of Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, located off the coast of Co. Galway, have revealed plans to expand their hotel operation, which would double its capacity.  Speaking to The Irish Times, Marie-Thérèse de Blacam, who runs the exclusive property with her husband Ruairi, said demand is such that plans are in place to add as many as six new units to the current five-suite hotel. It's reported that they will be looking to work with private partners to fund the costs of the expansion, 'with the property then being leased back to be offered as suites as part of the existing business during the season'. De Blacam confirmed the first partner is already in place and work on the first two units is expected to begin this year.


Grand Canal weekly market at Mount Street Bridge axed  – 10.04.2017
Waterways Ireland has been refused permission to continue running a weekly food market on the Grand Canal in Dublin on the grounds it would be “seriously injurious to the amenity of the canal”. The cross-Border organisation charged with protecting and managing 1,000km of canals and rivers received a three-year planning permission in February 2014 to run the Friday market on the canal close to Mount Street bridge.  With 16 stalls serving takeaway food, it had proved a popular lunchtime draw for local workers, with its location close to Grand Canal Dock and Google’s offices.  Almost 40 local residents and residents’ groups objected to the continuation of the market. Residents said the nature of the market, which was not a farmers’ or craft market but a collection of “fast food” outlets, was inappropriate in what was a conservation area.


Sodexo joins Origin Green  – 28.03.2017
Sodexo Ireland is now a verified member of Origin Green, Ireland’s first food and services provider to be accepted into the Bord Bia initiative, the only sustainability programme in the world that operates on a national scale.  To achieve verification, Sodexo Ireland has committed to a sustainability programme that covers four key areas: sourcing practices, reducing operational waste, health and nutrition and corporate social responsibility, with clear targets set for 2020.  Tara McCarthy, Chief Executive of Bord Bia, commented “I am delighted to welcome Sodexo Ireland as a verified member of our Origin Green programme.  The global Sodexo Group is a recognised leader in sustainability. Sodexo Ireland’s participation in Origin Green localises this leadership while extending the sustainability agenda across our supply chain.”