Drinks sales back in modest growth after tough January

Britain’s pubs and bars clawed their way back to year-on-year drinks sales growth in the first full week of February, CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows.

Average sales in managed venues in the week to last Saturday (10 February) were 1% above the equivalent period in 2023. It follows four successive weeks of negative numbers, thanks to a combination of a squeeze on spending, Dry January, variable weather and rail strikes. 


Trading last week was boosted by stable weather and the Six Nations rugby tournament. The combination of mild temperatures and matchdays helped sales to rise 9% on Sunday (4 February), while the following Saturday (10 February) brought year-on-year growth of 5% on the back of the England v Wales fixture. However, trading was muted in between and sales were down on four of the seven days, bottoming out at -8% as rain moved in on Thursday (8 February). 


As is usually the case, the Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) category gained most from the rugby. Beer and cider sales were up by 5% and 6% respectively, while soft drinks and wine were in marginal decline of 1% and 2%. Spirits sales were 7% below the same week in 2023, though this marks an improvement on the steep drops of recent weeks. 


“These numbers are a relief for venues and suppliers after a difficult January, and raise hopes that the post-Christmas hangover has finally worn off,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “They show that consumers are still keen to get out into our pubs, bars and restaurants and are willing to spend, despite continued pressures on their disposable income.” 


The Daily Drinks Tracker provides analysis of sales at managed licensed premises across Britain and is part of CGA by NIQ’s suite of research services delivering in-depth data on category, supplier and brand rate of sale performance. To learn more, click here and email jonathan.jones@nielseniq.com. 

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