Strong Valentine’s Day keeps drinks sales level with 2023

Drinks sales at Britain’s pubs and bars stayed level year-on-year last week to continue a solid start to February trading.

CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows average sales in managed venues in the week to last Saturday (17 February) were just  0.1%  below the equivalent period in 2023. This follows 1% growth in the previous seven days and continues a decent build-back after tough conditions in January. 


The Daily Drinks Tracker shows year-on-year growth on five of the seven days of last week. Sales on Valentine’s Day, a crucial trading date for operators and suppliers, were 9% higher than on 14 February 2023. However, performance was more muted at the weekend, with sales down 2% on Saturday. 


The mixed picture shows that while some consumers are spending freely, others remain hesitant about spending in pubs and bars. CGA by NIQ’s latest Consumer Pulse survey indicates that two thirds (67%) of adults are still either severely or moderately impacted by the cost of living crisis—a month-on-month increase of six percentage points. Two in five (40%) consumers said they went out less frequently in January—significantly higher than the 23% who were going out more often. 


A strong Valentine’s Day made it a good week for the wine category, where sales were 4% ahead of last year. Beer (up 2%), cider (up 3%) and soft drinks (flat) were solid too. However, Valentine’s Day couldn’t revive the spirits category, which continued a tough start to 2024 with the week’s sales down 9%. 


“Valentine’s Day is always a welcome boost to sales at a quiet time of year, and it delivered a particularly impressive bounce this year,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “It shows that people are as eager as ever to celebrate special occasions in pubs, bars and restaurants, despite all the pressures on their spending.” 


The Daily Drinks Tracker provides analysis of sales at managed licensed premises across Britain and is part of CGA by NIQ’s suite of research services delivering in-depth data on category, supplier and brand rate of sale performance. To learn more, click here and email 

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