Warm Weekend Lifts drinks Sales 3% Above Pre-COVID-19 Levels

On Premise drinks sales finished last week just ahead of pre-pandemic comparatives last week, CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows.

It indicates that average sales by value in managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the seven days to last Saturday (7 May) were 3% up on the same week in 2019. It is the third best result of the year so far, and the third week in a row that the Tracker has been just ahead of three years ago. However, high compound inflation since 2019 means sales are still behind pre-COVID-19 levels in real terms.

After a mixed start to the week, sales bounced back as temperatures rose towards the weekend. Trading was 8% up on the same day in 2019 on Wednesday (4 May), 19% up on Thursday (5 May) and 7% up on Saturday (7 May).

Scotland was a particularly bright spot in the On Premise, with 3% growth making it the best week of the year so far. Trading there rocketed 26% on Thursday, thanks in large part to football fans packing out pubs for Rangers’ match against RB Leipzig in the Europa League. With Rangers and Liverpool now in the Europa and Champion’s League finals, more football-linked boosts can be expected in the next few weeks.

Category-wise, spirits (up 14%), beer (up 2%), cider (up 2%) and soft drinks (up 3%) were all in growth, but the wine category (down 11%) continued its struggles in 2022.

“Three consecutive weeks of growth are a positive sign for the On Premise for the rest of 2022,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “With more good weather forecast and the Bank Holiday and Queen’s Jubilee weekends looming, we can be optimistic that momentum will build. However, with rising costs squeezing both consumers’ spending and operators’ margins, there are some big challenges as well as opportunities ahead.”