On Premise Scores Third Week of Drinks Sales Growth

Average sales in managed venues in the seven days to Saturday (8 October) were 3% ahead of the same week last year, CGA by NielsenIQ’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows. While double-digit inflation is wiping out real-terms growth at the moment, it does raise confidence about prospects for pubs, bars, and restaurants in the run-up to Christmas.

Five of the week’s seven days were in year-on-year sales growth, peaking at 10% and 14% on Monday and Tuesday (3 and 4 October). In line with recent trends, Friday sales (down 3%) were weaker, but Saturday reached parity with 2021 despite another day of nationwide train strikes.

The Beer and Cider categories were both in double-digit growth for the second week in a row, with increases of 10% and 13%. Soft Drinks (up 6%) and Wine (up 1%) had a solid week too, though Spirits (down 13%) were in double-digit decline for the sixth successive week—though they are facing tough comparatives from 2021, when many drinkers were celebrating the full reopening of the On Premise with cocktails and shots.

Across all categories, average sales across last week were also 4% ahead of the pre-COVID-19 levels of October 2019—confirmation of the On Premise’s solid recovery from the pandemic.

“A third week of year-on-year growth shows operators and suppliers are responding very well to all the external challenges thrown at them,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Consumers are clearly still happy to spend time and money in pubs, bars, and restaurants, despite the pressures on their discretionary spending at the moment. Mounting energy, food and property bills, and turmoil in the economy, are casting a long shadow over Christmas, but we can be cautiously optimistic that the sector will show more resilience over the next couple of months.”