The ‘Paul Mescal effect’ has been credited with contributing to a 20 per cent increase in the sales of O'Neills shorts in 2020.
According to O'Neills director, Paul Towell, the 20 per cent sales increase of O'Neills shorts last year “was one of the few bright spots in a very difficult year.”
The sports brand enjoyed a sales boost after Sally Rooney’s 'Normal People' break-out star, Paul Mescal made the €20 O'Neills shorts one of the most sought after fashion items of 2020.
The former Kildare minor football captain was photographed out and about during 2020 sporting his O'Neills shorts before wearing them for a GQ cover photo shoot last Autumn.
Mr Towell said that Paul Mescal “has had a very positive effect on sales”.
The 20 per cent increase in O'Neills shorts last year is all the more remarkable when sales of O'Neills replica jerseys plummeted by 70 per cent due to Covid-19 in 2020.
He estimated that the ‘Mescal effect’ “brought the O'Neills brand to a wider audience allowing us to expand our range in ladies shorts in particular with new colour combinations”
During the year, O'Neills sent Paul Mescal a complimentary pack of sportswear along with an O'Neills All-Ireland football which he used in kick around in Hyde Park in London.
He reported that in another bright spot for the company in 2020 was doubling its workforce in Covid free Australia.
Bloody Sunday jersey
The strong Australian performance along with the firm producing PPE for front-line health-care workers limited the brand's revenue drop to 40 per cent in 2020.
Mr Towell said: “We had a large investment in Australia the last couple of years and Australia basically has helped to keep the production units going here because there is no lockdown over there.”
O'Neills are producing jerseys for Aussie Rules, Australian rugby union and rugby league teams.
Mr Towell revealed that the Tipperary footballers’ Bloody Sunday commemorative jersey was the company’s second best-selling jersey last year after a newly launched Dublin jersey.
He said: “It is still selling well - not to the same extent. It is a unique jersey and has gone very, very well.”
Mr Towell made his comments when asked to comment on new accounts for O'Neills firm, Balbriggan Textiles Ltd which show that the company recorded pre-tax profits of €1.1m in 2019 as its gross profit increased to €12.1m.
Mr Towell stated over the past 12 months, the company’s retail outlets have been closed 60 per cent' of that time.
He stated: “We closed down on March 12th last year, and we opened again on July 2nd. We closed down again for the month of November, and we closed again for January, February and March."