How Brexit is chang­ing the busi­ness land­scape

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

SHARP drops in Ster­ling are im­pact­ing busi­nesses in Ire­land with one com­pany redi­rect­ing its fo­cus from the UK back to the do­mes­tic mar­ket.

Fer­gal and Kevin Quinn are en­tre­pre­neur broth­ers from Sligo who run a num­ber of busi­nesses in­clud­ing night­clubs, pubs, restau­rants and a party pack­age com­pany.

For the last num­ber of years, their stag and hen party pack­age com­pany, He­nandS­tagSligo.ie, has had a steady 70pc of its cus­tomers come from the UK – pri­mar­ily North­ern Ire­land.

How­ever, while their over­all busi­ness has in­creased in the first quar­ter of 2018, they have seen a sharp down­turn — of around 20pc — in cus­tomers from the North­ern Ir­ish mar­ket and had to change its mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing fo­cus from the UK back to the Ir­ish mar­ket.

“Brexit and the knock-on ef­fects on Ster­ling has re­ally im­pacted on our busi­ness and forced us to change our tar­get mar­kets. Cus­tomers for our com­pany, which sells hen and stag party pack­ages, used to be 70pc North­ern Ir­ish, helped by our prox­im­ity to the mar­ket. Since the start of 2018, that mix has changed to 50pc from the North and 50pc from the South of the is­land,” said co-founder Fer­gal Quinn.

Mr Quinn said that the num­ber of book­ings for restau­rants – and ho­tels lo­cally – from Ster­ling cus­tomers had also dropped. The North­ern Ir­ish mar­ket, he added, was ex­tremely im­por­tant for Sligo given its lo­ca­tion closer to the bor­der.

“We were lucky as we re­acted early to the change in the mar­ket and, last year, we upped our con­cen­tra­tion on the mar­ket in the South of the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly in Dublin. Our busi­ness over­all has in­creased in the first quar­ter of the year and we are hop­ing that mo­men­tum will con­tinue but if we had not re­acted early and changed our tar­get mar­ket fo­cus, our busi­ness would have suf­fered. Book­ings for cus­tomers us­ing Ster­ling only ac­counted for 50pc of our busi­ness in the first three months of the year, which is a big drop.”

Fer­gal and Kevin Quinn are en­tre­pre­neur broth­ers from Sligo

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