Year-on-year drinks sales up again despite rail strikes

Britain’s On Premise shrugged off the disruption of nationwide rail strikes to post a small increase in drinks sales for the second week in a row.

 

CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average sales in managed venues in the seven days to Saturday (1 October) were 3% ahead of the same week last year, and 2% up on the pre-COVID levels of 2019. It follows similar modest growth over the previous seven days—though with inflation now in double-digits, trading remains well short of previous years in real terms.

 

 

While year-on-year sales dipped on Sunday and Friday (25 and 30 September) they were ahead by between 3% and 10% on all five other days of the week. The most impressive performance came on Saturday (1 October), when drinks sales ran 9% ahead of 2021 despite the rail strikes restricting consumers’ travel to city and town centres.

 

As has been the case for several weeks now, beer and cider were the strongest categories in the On Premise, with year-on-year growth of 11% and 12% respectively. Soft drinks (up 7%) and wine (up 5%) also did well, though spirits sales were down by 12%. The comparisons show how consumers’ drinking habits have shifted from last autumn, when spirits sales flourished, partly at the expense of the LAD and wine categories.

 

“Amid all the economic turmoil, it’s encouraging to see two successive weeks of growth in On Premise drinks sales,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Despite growing pressure on their disposable incomes, consumers remain very keen to drink out in pubs and bars, and it hopefully bodes well for the run-up to the crucial Christmas trading period. However, with energy, food and property bills continuing to rise and inflation-adjusted growth so difficult to achieve, it will be a tough fourth-quarter for some businesses.”

 

 

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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