Stormy weather dented the recovery of the out-of-home drinking sector last week—but the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions this week should give a fresh boost to pubs, bars and restaurants.

Storms Dudley and Eunice combined to curtail trading across the country, with many consumers deciding not to venture out. CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows that in the week to last Saturday (19 February), average drinks sales by value for managed pubs, bars and restaurants were 18% short of the same period in 2020.

The tough week paused the On Premise’s recovery, just as sales were returning towards pre-COVID-19 sales levels. Friday (18 February), when Storm Eunice peaked and sales slumped 27%, was the worst hit day of the week, while Dudley triggered a 12% drop on both Tuesday and Wednesday (15 and 16 February). Wales, which suffered some of the worst weather, saw its week’s sales dip 31% from 2020.

The spirits category continued its remarkable 2022, with sales 2% up on the same week in 2020 despite the weather. Beer (down 22%), cider (down 23%), wine (down 25%), and soft drinks (down 27%) were all far below pre-COVID-19 levels.

Jonathan Jones, CGA Managing Director, UK & Ireland “Given the close correlation between weather and On Premise trading, it was no surprise to see sales take a hit last week,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Hopefully this will prove to be only a bump in hospitality’s recovery path, and the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions in England this week should give pubs, bars and restaurants fresh momentum. Inflation continues to make real-terms growth extremely difficult, but we can be cautiously optimistic about trading prospects as we enter the Spring.”