Drinks performance almost at pre-COVID-19 levels after fifth week of improvement

Lifting of mandatory restrictions and a rush back to the late-night sector have seen surging Spirits sales push overall performance towards 2019 levels

Average drinks sales in the On Premise took another big step back to normality in the week ending 8th August, with performance just -5% behind the same week in 2019, according to CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker. Barring the May bank holiday weekend, last week was the best performing period since hospitality reopened in April, as growing consumer confidence saw a fifth consecutive week of improvement since ‘freedom day’ in England.


The removal of mandatory restrictions in Scotland and Wales on Monday 9th was also a welcome boost to top-line performance. Joining unrestricted England (down -5%), the average Welsh outlet saw flat performance, whilst Scotland lagged behind at -13%; however, a significant improvement to last week’s figure of -28%.


Consumers flocking back to the recently reopened late-night sector again played a huge role in overall improvements, with Spirits up an impressive 20%. Soft Drinks have also benefitted from their association with the category and now sit just -2% behind two years ago. Beer (down 13%), Cider (down 15%) and Wine (down 14%) are still struggling to recreate this performance though as occasions evolve, however all categories have improved week-on-week since July 19th.


The top-line picture varied across the week, with poor weather fuelling a poor start on Sunday (-14%) but higher temperatures seeing a midweek uptick from -2% on Monday to +7% on Tuesday and +2% on Wednesday. Thursday dropped to -15%, but encouragingly in line with recent themes, the weekend was on a par with 2019, with Friday down 1% and Saturday down -3%.


It’s pleasing to see week-on-week performance returning to pre-COVID-19 levels as more obstacles are taken away, such as prohibitive restrictions, in all GB markets” commented Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK & Ireland.

“Further boosts have come from the welcomed return of live events such as the Premier League and we know that there are still many outlets and consumers who are taking smaller steps out of COVID-19, which will hopefully escalate as confidence grows. On the flipside, there are still headwinds on the horizon in the form of the supply chain, particularly for the Beer category, which may take some shine off recent performance.”


CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker service will continue to monitor sales as the drinking-out market continues to recover, providing category, supplier and brand rate of sale performance versus pre-COVID-19 sales. Suppliers and operators that want to track the recovery of drinks sales, benchmark performance or identify changes in trends and consumer preferences should contact jonathan.jones@cgastrategy.com.


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