Monday, November 30, 2009

All Bar None

The CSO produce data on the value and volume of trade in the Bar sector. The graph below reproduces the seasonally adjusted values of the sales index in the sector from Jan 2005 to Sep 2009. Ouch!

The gap between the two value and volume series emerges because of price inflation. It is clear that most of this happened between 2006 and 2008 with the gap between the two relative constant for at least the last 12 months. Here are price indices for four catergories of licensed trade products.

Although we are experiencing some deflation in the economy this is not the case in the bar trade (yet! ) . With prices falling the VFI and LVA tried to become the drinkers friend by announcing a prize freeze from Dec 1 2008! This was ruled illegal by the Competition Authority but may still have force has an informal agreement.

The price graph above very defined "steps" suggesting coordinated price increases across the entire sector rather than gradual or dispersed price increases. If we lookly at the monthly percentage price increases based on the above data.

We see there are five months where all prices rose by between 1 and 1.75% in that month alone. For most other months the change in price is essentially zero. The Vintners may argue that they are simply passing on price increases from their suppliers. However for the graph to tie in with that story the wholeprices of brewers, distillers, wine distributors, cider producers and soft drink manufacturers would all have to rise by the same amount in the same month.

If we look at four key categories in the retail grocery sector we don't see anything like the same level of co-movement of prices.

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