Saturday, April 27, 2013

27/4/2013: Bars, Pubs, Recession Craic

I recently watched an Irish comedian (let's keep the names out of this) quip that Irish people are not having that bad of a time during this recession, as we are still going out for pints, and that is all that matters in measuring our happiness.

Obviously, humor aside, there can be some truth in this. Most of entertainment and 'cultural' life in this country revolves about the pub or (in shwankier neighborhoods - around a cocktail bar). So bars sales can be a somewhat decent indicator of some sort of the social well-being in this country.

How did bar sales fare in the Great Recession? Four charts:

By value (chart above),

  • Bar sales were down 18.1% on average in the period from January 2008 through present (March 2013), aka pre-crisis period, compared to the crisis period from January 2005 through December 2007.
  • In March 2013 they were down 14.6% on pre-crisis average. 3mo average through March 2013 was down 1.5% y/y.
  • So by value of sales, we are not heading for the pub as much.
  • Worse, compared to both All Retail Sales and to Retail Sales of Food - Bars sales are doing much worse. 
  • Noting that Food sales are running above pre-crisis average, both currently and on the basis of crisis average, and also noting that Food sales are signals of us staying more at home, rather than going out to pubs and bars and restaurants, there is no indicator here that we are having good times during this recession. At least not in the pubs.
Next: volume of sales:

Again as with value of sales, volume of sales index shows that the above conjecture of 'good times' is not holding up. In fact, comparative dynamics for retail sales in bars in volume are worse than dynamics in value.

Here's a more distilled version, showing dynamics in bars sales compared to all retail sales:

And here's an illustration of divergent dynamics between food and bars sales:

Seems like if we are having 'craic' in this recession, it is not in our locals or in the Temple Bar, but with a bottle of cheaper booze at home, drumstick in hand, slippers on...
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