Drinks Sales Holding Up Despite Operational Challenges

Drinks sales continue to compare well to pre-COVID patterns despite a host of supply, staffing and cost pressures across the On Premise.

CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average drinks sales by value in the seven days to last Saturday (18 September) were down by 5% on the same week in 2019—a dip from growth of 1% in the previous seven days and 5% in the week before that. However, trading remains solid given the context of major challenges highlighted by CGA’s latest Business Confidence Survey.

The week-on-week drop was also influenced by damper and cooler weather. Daily sales were down on 2019 levels by between 2% and 12% between Sunday and Friday (12 to 17 September), but recovered well to sit just 1% down on Saturday.

Continuing the pattern of the summer, spirits sales comfortably outpaced the market, with cocktails extending their popularity. Spirits sales across the week were 16% up on the same week in 2019, but beer (down 11%), soft drinks (down 7%), cider (down 16%) and wine (down 13%) were all in negative territory.

“While just short of 2019 levels, these figures show the impressive resilience of the On Premise,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Trading conditions aren’t easy at the moment, and there are likely to be plenty of ups and downs between now and the end of the year. But consumers remain as enthusiastic as ever about drinking out, if supply and staffing issues can be mitigated, operators have a good chance of ending 2021 on a high.