Solid September for drinks sales as Wales excels

Pubs, bars and other venues overcame supply and staffing problems to push drinks sales to the brink of pre-pandemic levels last week.

CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average drinks sales by value in the seven days to Saturday (25 September) were down by just 1% on the same week in 2019. It follows a modest dip of 5% last week and 1% growth in the seven days before that.

 

CGA’s recent research has shown a steady return in business confidence, while the Coffer CGA Business Tracker has indicated resilience in the managed sector—but major challenges on supply, staffing and rising costs have threatened to dent the recovery, making September’s drinks sales appear even more robust.

 

Trade last week was boosted by the arrival of many students at universities. Daily sales were higher than equivalent days in 2019 from Sunday to Wednesday (26 to 29 September—by as much as 10% on Monday and Tuesday—but then dipped into negative territory on Thursday and Friday. They recovered to 2% growth on Saturday, perhaps boosted by the high-profile boxing bout involving Anthony Joshua that night.

 

Category-wise, spirits again outstripped the market by some distance, with sales up by 16% on 2019 for the second week in a row. Beer (down 6%), cider (down 2%) and soft drinks (down 3%) were all marginally in the red, and the weakest segment was wine (down 12%).

 

The latest Drinks Recovery Tracker also highlights the impressive performance of the On Premise in Wales, which has consistently outperformed the rest of Britain since hospitality’s ‘freedom day’ in July. Sales in Wales over the last four weeks have been up on 2019 by 25%, 14%, 2% and 13%. This is potentially due to an increase in consumers taking local staycations rather than holidaying abroad. By comparison, sales have been down in two of the four weeks in England, and in every week in Scotland.

In the context of the high-profile crises in supply and staffing, these figures represent another solid week for the drinking-out market,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “It’s particularly pleasing to see the resurgence of spirits and cocktails, and Wales’ strong performance since reopening is hopefully a sign of what is to come for the rest of Britain in due course—though there are some operational challenges to deal with first.”

 

CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker service will continue to monitor 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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