Drinks sales just 1% off pre-COVID levels for third week in a row

Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants continue to pull drinks sales back to pre-pandemic levels as the On Premise enters the crucial final quarter of 2021.

CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average drinks sales by value in the seven days to Saturday (9 October) were up by 1% on the same week in 2019. It is the third successive week in which sales have been just 1% either side of 2019’s averages, and they haven’t been more than 5% off since the start of September.

 

 

Last week was the first time since ‘freedom day’ on 19 July that drinks sales in England, Scotland and Wales were all up on the same week in 2019. Growth was boosted by another bumper week of spirits sales, which were up by 24% on two years ago—thanks in large part to surging sales of cocktails. The category more than made up for modest drops in sales in other segments like soft drinks (down 2%), beer (down 4%), cider (down 4%) and wine (down 11%).

 

 

Daily sales were close to 2019’s figures throughout the week, peaking on Sunday 3 October (up 8%) and Saturday 9 October (up 5%)—the latter partly due to big football and boxing events that day.

 

The Tracker figures are another sign of solid sales momentum in the On Premise as the run-up to the festive season nears. They have been achieved despite major operational issues and the after-shocks of Covid, which have led to the closure of nearly 1,000 more licensed premises in the last two months alone.

Hauling drinks sales back to pre-COVID levels within a few months of restrictions easing shows the enormous resilience of Britain’s On Premise,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “However, while trading appears to be close to standard for the time of year, the realities on the ground are far from normal. Pubs, bars and restaurants face a triple whammy of rising costs, staff shortages and disruption to supply, and they remain deserving of targeted support to sustain their impressive rebuilding.”

 

CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker service monitors 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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