Drinks Sales Dip Again Despite Strong Saturday

On Premise drinks sales were once again just shy of pre-COVID-19 levels last week, with decent weekend trading outweighed by quieter weekdays

CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average sales by value in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the seven days to Saturday (9 April) were 3% short of the same period in April 2019, following a 2% drop last week and a 3% drop the week before that.

The week started and ended strongly, with growth of 5% on Sunday (3 April) and 6% on Saturday (9 April)—thanks in part to good weather and the Grand National. But there were double-digit drops on Monday and Wednesday (4 and 6 April), and modest drops on other weekdays as the weather worsened.

“Last week’s sales were in line with what we’ve seen so far in 2022, with strong spikes of both ups and downs,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Good weekend trading shows consumers are still eager to get out, but the tougher midweek suggests rising costs might be leading them to reduce their frequency of visits. Operators and licensees will be pinning hopes on the Easter period for a much-needed boost to takings—but as ever much will depend on the weather.”

The spirits category was yet again the best performer last week, with sales up by 13% on the same week in 2019. Beer (down 5%), soft drinks (down 6%) and cider (down 11%) were all well behind, and it was another very challenging week for wine (down 13%).