Drinks Sales Fall Just Short of Pre-COVID-19 Levels for Fourth Week in a Row

After another week of highs and lows, On Premise drinks sales continue to hover just short of pre-COVID-19 levels—and with inflation running high, real-terms growth remains a long way off.

The Drinks Recovery Tracker from CGA shows average sales by value in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the seven days to Saturday (16 April) were 2% short of the same period in 2019. It is the fourth successive week that sales have been two or three percentage points off the markers of three years ago.

The first half of the week swung between highs of +18% on 2019 on Sunday (10 April) and -11% on Wednesday (13 April). The start of the Easter weekend saw decent trading but suffered by comparison to a warmer holiday in 2019, and sales ended 5% down on Good Friday (15 April) and 2% up on Easter Saturday (16 April).

“It’s very frustrating to see drinks sales still floating just below pre-pandemic patterns,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “With costs rising so fast, growth remains well short of where it needs to be, and the increasing squeeze on consumers’ disposable incomes will make it doubly hard to get sales back into the black. While the worst of COVID-19’s impacts to the hospitality market are hopefully now over, the road to recovery still has a long way to run.”

Category-wise, Spirits was once more the bright spot of the market, with sales up 10% on the same week in 2019. Beer (down 4%) and Soft Drinks (down 1%) were just shy of three years ago, but Cider (down 16%) and Wine (down 13%) were both in double-digit decline.