A survey of Northern Ireland hospitality owners has shown an improvement on last year’s Christmas trading figures for many hospitality businesses.
The survey was conducted by Hospitality Ulster of its members which includes pubs, restaurants and hotels across Northern Ireland.
More than 60% of businesses who responded reported an increase in beverage sales this year compared to the same period in 2017, with 29% of businesses showing an increase in sales of more than 10%.
In food sales, more than 51% of respondents reported an increase in 2018 Christmas trade, with 22% showing an increase of more than 10%.
However, the improvement was not the same for all businesses across the board and between 20-26% businesses also reported a decrease in food and beverage sales during the same period.
The survey was conducted by Hospitality Ulster in the first week of January 2019.
Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, Colin Neill commented: “The figures in general are quite heartening after what has been quite a difficult year for business in Northern Ireland.
“The positive survey results demonstrate a clear resilience in the industry and a willingness to adapt and plan ahead with great offers of food, drink and entertainment put on over the festive season.
“I think the fact that trade was up for many members shows that people really do enjoy the experience of a night out. We are seeing a boom in craft products like gin and beer, where people enjoy sampling a wide range of different types of drinks. We have also seen a sharp increase in non-alcoholic spirits and beers. Customers are seeking the overall experience, rather than just the product.
“Food sales continue to grow and again that comes down to the wide and growing range on offer out there, right across Northern Ireland.
“It is worth noting however that this upturn hasn’t been the case across the board and there are still many business owners facing an uphill struggle, particularly as we enter what is to be a very precarious year for business in Northern Ireland.”