Mescal effect continues as O’Neills report branded shorts as this year’s bestselling item

The Paul Mescal impact on the sales of O’Neill’s shorts has continued into 2021 with the company reporting its branded shorts is by far this year’s best-selling product.

Co-owner of O’Neill’s, Paul Towell confirmed today that the €20 Mourne shorts is “by far O’Neill’s best-selling product for 2021 and sales have increased by 30 per cent on last year”.

“The shorts are seen as very trendy now.”

Mr Towell said that the sales of the shorts in 2020 increased after they were worn by Paul Mescal on the lock-down global TV hit, Normal People.

Mr Towell said that the shorts are now very popular amongst women.

He confirmed that the ‘Mescal effect’ has played some part in the 2021 sales increase but also stated that people playing more games, exercising more and the better weather this year has also played a role in the 2021 sales surge.

Replica jerseys

A west Clare GAA club, Cooraclare recently raised over €10,000 for club facilities with the raffle of a Paul Mescal signed O’Neills pair of shorts. The Kildare man has close family ties to the club.

Mr Towell said that O’Neill’s sales for 2021 are now back to pre-Covid levels with the sales of replica jerseys up 20 per cent on 2020.

The owner also mentioned the best-selling jersey of the year was the Mayo jersey followed by Tyrone and Cork.

He said that the sales of Mayo and Tyrone jerseys were helped by the date of the All-Ireland being put back following the Covid-19 outbreak in the Tyrone camp.

“We have had a good year in 2021. There was pent-up demand after shops were closed for the first third of the year.”

Mr Towell was commenting on new accounts filed by O’Neill’s main firm in the Republic, Balbriggan Textiles Ltd showing that pre-tax profits declined only marginally last year to €1.15m.

This follows the company’s gross profits declining by 8 per cent from €12.1 million to €11.1 million.

Mr Towell commented that O’Neills employee numbers on the island of Ireland are back to pre-Covid levels of around 1,000.

He said O’Neill’s producing PPE allowed the company to keep its production plants open last year.


Separate accounts for O’Neill’s Northern Ireland arm, O’Neill Irish International Sports Company Ltd, show that its revenues increased by 12.5 per cent in 2020 driven by “an increase in online sales as consumers adapt their purchasing behaviour during the pandemic”.

Mr Towell said that online sales last year increased by 20 per cent.

The Strabane based unit employs 725 and pre-tax profits declined marginally to £1.18 million as gross profit totalled £8.6 million (€10 million). Staff costs totalled £12.5 million.

Mr Towell stated that the Australian market that was so strong for O’Neills last year has fallen back this year due to lockdowns.

He also confirmed that O’Neills is in expansion mode once more with the construction currently underway of a new warehouse at Strabane that will create 20 to 30 jobs.

The project had been postponed last year due to Covid-19.

Accumulated profits at Balbriggan Textiles at the end of December 2020 totalled €21.69 million. Accumulated profits at the Strabane firm totalled £12.7 million.


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