Drinks sales marginally down as pressures pile up

Drinks sales in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants slipped slightly below pre-COVID levels in a week when cost, supply and staffing challenges continued to grow.

CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average drinks sales by value in the seven days to Saturday (16 October) were down by 2% on the same week in 2019. All categories and home nations performed behind last week’s positive results, but it continues a run that has seen total sales hover no more than 5% either side of 2019’s comparatives ever since the start of September.


Extending another post-lockdown pattern, spirits were again the star performer of the week, with sales up 20% on the same week in 2019 thanks to strong demand for cocktails. Sales of soft drinks (down 4%), beer (down 7%), cider (down 6%) and wine (down 13%) were all in the red.


Sales were close to 2019 on every day of the week, peaking at 8% up on Sunday (10 October), bottoming out at 6% down on Wednesday and Friday (13 and 15 October), and sitting 2% either side on every other day.


It was another week of solid if unspectacular trading in the On Premise,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “The week-on-week dip is a reminder that real-terms sales growth is still some way off, and news of growing infection rates shows the COVID crisis is far from over. With supply and staffing issues hitting operations, and rising costs in food, drink, energy and other key inputs putting huge pressure on margins, many businesses remain fragile and in need of support.”


CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker service 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 Paul.Bolton@cgastrategy.com 

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