Drinks sales just 1% off 2019, but inflation hits recovery

Drinks sales were just 1% off pre-COVID-19 levels for the second week in a row in the seven days to Saturday (12 March), CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows

The figure—for average sales by value in managed pubs, bars and restaurants compared to the same week in March 2019—shows how the On Premise is now virtually back to the trading patterns seen before the pandemic. However, with inflation running high, sales in real terms remain much further below the levels of 2019.

 

The Tracker shows trading fluctuated across the week, with a low of 12% down on Friday and a high of 7% up on Tuesday. The Six Nations rugby tournament continues to have a positive impact, helping drive growth of 2% on Saturday, when England and Scotland were both in action.

 

“Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants have done well to haul drinks sales back to virtual parity with 2019,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “But with costs rising fast and many consumers now seeing their disposable incomes fall, it is increasingly tough to achieve real-terms growth. Licensees will be hoping for a warm Spring to encourage consumers out, as well as government measures to mitigate the inflationary pressures facing both businesses and consumers.”

 

Spirits was yet again the week’s best performing drinks category, with sales up 11% on the same week in 2019. Soft drinks sales grew 2%, but beer (down 5%), cider (down 9%) and wine (down 7%) were all in the red.

 

CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker monitors managed outlet 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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