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Weekly Round Up, January 7th 2014

Published on Jan 6 2014 5:36 PM

Weekly Round Up, January 7th 2014

7Up Free accounted for the highest level of spend on outdoor advertising in the Food & Drink category in November 2013, according to the latest Posterwatch report from PML Group. The 7Up Free campaign, built around the 'Up for Christmas' message, accounted for €296k worth of outdoor ad spend. In second place, Cadbury Dairy Milk accounted for €229k worth of spend, followed by Kinder Chocolate With Cereals (€207k), Kinder Surprise (€194k) and Carte Noire (€166k). Guinness was the highest spending alcohol brand on outdoor in November, accounting for €235k worth of spend. The figures used to compile the Posterwatch report are based on published Media Owner rate cards and refer to display values only.

Over 40 million illegally imported cigarettes were seized in 2013 by the Revenue Commissioners. However this was 50 million less than the total seized in 2012. Finance Minister Michael Noonan said there were a number of factors to be considered regarding the fall in seizures. He said, “The results for 2012 found that 13% of smokers had an illicit pack of cigarettes, and the comparable figure for 2011 was 15%. This would suggest that the extent of the problem is being contained, as a result of the extensive action being taken against the smuggling and sale of illicit products.” The Revenue Commissioners remain adamant about combatting the illicit tobacco trade, according to Mr Noonan, and continue to intercept illegal cigarettes at ports and points of entry through a network of surveillance.

New figures from Insolvency Journal have found that the retail sector accounted for 14% of all insolvencies in 2013, with 190 retail businesses declaring insolvency during the period. This, however, is a 14% drop on last year's figure. According to insolvencyjournal.ie, 'Online shopping has become a major issue for retailers and a significant amount continue to struggle. However as the winter sale season got underway on St. Stephens Day, Retail Excellence Ireland have confirmed its biggest sales success since Christmas 2008, with retailers reporting an overall increase of 20% in sales this year so far.'

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has estimated that some 50,000 jobs can be created this year. The SME representative group says it is an “achievable target” as 18% of SMEs aim to increase their staff in the next year. ISME chief Mark Fielding says that to achieve the growth, the government will need to do more to support the sector. He said, “The Medium-Term Economic Plan, released prior to Christmas, promised reports and policy actions from all government departments. The plans that come from the Government departments in the New Year must be specific, measurable, enterprise-oriented and concentrate on business costs so that the employment potential can be achieved.” Changes from the government that ISME are lobbying for include a reform of the social welfare system, a cut in Government-influenced business costs to below the EU average, further addressing of the banking crisis to improve credit availability to small firms and more outsourcing of State services to SMEs.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) in Ireland has urged Irish MEP’s to support independent retailers to make e-cigarettes available across the EU. NFRN Ireland President, Joe Sweeney said, “I have one short message to MEPs – get it sorted. The debate about e-cigarettes has gone on too long, with too many irrelevant side issues being used to delay progress. The simple reality is that e-cigarettes can get smokers off cigarettes and on to a safe, regulated product that should be available for purchase as widely as possible through newsagents and convenience stores.” The NFRN emphasised that access to e-cigarettes will encourage smokers to quit tobacco, which is in keeping with the aims of the Irish public health policy.

Retail Ireland expects consumer spending to rise by 1.3% in 2014, the first rise since the recession hit. In its New Year statement, RI said that the sector remains under severe pressure and this is the first increase since the recession. Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said, "2014 is likely to see the first increase in consumer spending for many years. While forecasted growth of 1.3% is low, it is a move in the right direction. Spending fell in 2012 and was static in 2013. At present, goods inflation is in negative territory as shops battle for footfall. Intense competition in the retail sector is likely to keep prices down in 2014.”

Tesco has agreed to a sale-and-leaseback agreement in South Korea which will raise over £355m for the company. The deal with real estate firm Samsung SRA comprises of Tesco handing over ownership of four of its Homeplus stores and accompanying mall space. Tesco said, "Following the successful sale and leaseback of four Homeplus stores in August 2012, this announcement further demonstrates the underlying value of our operations in Korea and the attractiveness of our property and business to investors.” Homeplus is Tesco’s largest international business with more than 520 stores and annual revenues of £5.3bn.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has embarked on a trade mission this week to the Gulf states. Enterprise Ireland and Mr Kenny attended a number of high level meetings in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh in an effort to boost trade with the 87 Irish firms participating in the mission. The mission will also visit Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Mr Kenny discussed economic and financial matters with officials from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and a number of banks and was commended by the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency for his tough reforms in the Irish bailout.

© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson

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