The festive season kicked off in style this week with a whopping 35.9m pints being sold across UK pubs in this first Christmas week.

Compared to the same week last year, we see that overall Draught Pint Sales are up by +2.3%. The shape of the week has also changed versus last year with Wednesday to Saturday now accounting for 69.3% of sales which equates to a +8.8% increase vs. 2022.

The big winners in the past week have been more traditional winter drinks (Stout & Ale) as the weather has turned colder. Stout has seen the biggest gains of +30.3% last week, with Ale up +10.3%.

Unfortunately some categories have inevitably lost out, with Premium Lager down -10.2% and Core Lager down -9.7%.

This week, we have seen footfall drop by c-1% with Wednesday down -3.3% and Thursday down -3.2% versus 2022. However, Friday and Saturday footfall has increased by +1.0% and +2.1% respectively.

Hardest hit were City Centres where footfall was down -2.1% versus 2022. Suburban and Rural areas faired the best with Friday and Saturday as the strongest days.

Overall, dwell time grew to 126 minutes vs. 120 minutes in the same week last year up +5.0% with City Centres driving the highest growth of +5.9%. All locations benefitted from an increased consumer visit length with Suburban outlets +4.1% and then Rural +3.4%.

Linda Senior, owner of Linda’s Inns and operating 3 venues across West Yorkshire commented: “We have seen some great sales across ales and stout (Guinness is absolutely flying!) no doubt helped by the much colder temperatures we have had of late, but passing trade continues to be unpredictable, so larger Christmas bookings are incredibly important for us and are definitely up from last year. We’re also seeing the return of local office bookings as well and friends and family groups, and we are already getting lots of bookings for New Year’s Eve from people who want to stay local to avoid any transport issues.”