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Drinks Sales Warm Up but Inflation Cools Growth

Drinks sales in Britain’s On Premise were just behind pre-COVID-19 levels last week, CGA by NielsenIQ’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows

Average sales by value in managed venues in the seven days to Saturday (9 July) were only 1% down on the same week in 2019—an improvement from a drop of 3% last week and a 7% dip in the previous seven days, which were affected by rail strikes.

Rising temperatures over the week helped to bring consumers out to drink, though sales fluctuated from day to day. There was modest growth on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday (4, 5 and 9 July), but negative comparatives on every other day—including Friday, which has struggled all year as people change their working habits.

With inflation now running at 9%, sales are significantly behind pre-pandemic levels in real terms. Rising drinks prices also means that the current volume of sales is even further behind 2019’s totals than the value.

As they have been for most of 2022, spirits were the best performing category last week, with sales 5% ahead of 2019’s levels. Cider (up 2%) was also in growth thanks to the warm weather, but beer (down 1%), soft drinks (down 4%) and wine (down 15%) were all in the red.