COVID-19 Restrictions Cut Drinks Sales By A Fifth Despite Good Weather And Euros

CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows that average sales in the week to last Saturday (12 June) were down by 19% on the same week in 2019. It extends the trend of recent weeks, which has seen drinks sales generally running well below the levels of spring and summer 2019, despite bursts of strong trading when the sun has shone.

Warm weather helped daily sales to fare well against pre-COVID-19 comparatives on Monday (down 1%), Tuesday (up 3%) and Wednesday (down 5%). But as in previous weeks they tailed off in the second half of the week, falling 16% on Thursday, 29% on Friday and 26% on Saturday.

Another continuing pattern is of better figures for drinks sales in pubs (down 13%) than in restaurants (down 30%), while bars (down 48%) are being hardest hit of all by COVID-19 restrictions like distancing and table service. CGA’s breakdown of categories showed the good weather helped to make it a better week for cider (down 6%) and soft drinks (down 13%) than beer (down 17%), wine (down 21%) and spirits (down 29%).

CGA’s data from early matchdays in the Euro 2020 tournament show a boost to sales in sites hosting fans. Venues that screened the England v Croatia game last Sunday (13 June) saw like-for-like drinks sales rise 12% against the equivalent Sunday in 2019, while total wet sales across all venues were down by 10%. Future games involving England, Scotland and Wales should deliver more sales increases as the tournament goes on, but distancing and table service are likely to keep the uplifts well below what would usually be expected from big sporting occasions.

Last week showed us once again that there is a very close correlation between drinks sales and the weather,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “It was also a good guide to the level of sales that we can expect in the next few weeks. A strong Euro 2020 tournament for the home nations would undoubtedly boost sales, but the government’s four-week delay to the full easing of COVID-19 restrictions is a huge blow to drinks suppliers and operators ahead of what should have been a bumper period of trading.”