Omicron creates January hangover for drinks sales

COVID-19 concerns and trading restrictions made it a tough first week of 2022 for Britain’s On Premise, with average drinks sales by value down by 18% compared to the same period in 2020.

The latest figures from CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker follow a very difficult December for the drinking-out market, after many consumers cancelled Christmas and New Year celebrations. January is traditionally a quiet time of year for the On Premise in any case, as some consumers seek to reduce their alcohol intake or cut spending, and the latest drop will further damage businesses that need to recoup lost sales.

 

CGA’s Tracker indicates a strong first few days of 2022 thanks to the bank holiday weekend, with sales up by 25% and 37% on 2020’s levels on Sunday and Monday (2 and 3 January). However, sales were down by between 23% and 32% on every other day of the week.

 

Sales in England across the week were both down by 18% on 2020 (as they were in Scotland, which benefited from an extra bank holiday day despite extra restrictions), but there was a sharper drop of 25% in Wales, as strict COVID-19 restrictions impacted footfall.

 

“After a very challenging Christmas it has been a difficult start to the New Year for Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, GB and Ireland. “Whether through choice or necessity, many people are continuing to stay away from drinking-out venues, weakening fragile businesses further. The need for government help on tax, costs and other issues until consumer confidence returns is obvious and urgent.”

 

Category-wise, CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker suggests that trends of 2021 will extend into 2022, with spirits comfortably outperforming all other segments. Spirits sales were down by 8% on the same week in 2020—a much better performance than beer (down 20%), cider (down 19%), wine (down 26%) and soft drinks (down 17%).

 

 

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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