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Wet Weather Dampens Spirits As Drinks Sales Slip 5% Year-On-Year

Wet weather and tough comparatives pushed last week’s drinks sales down year-on-year, CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows.

After three weeks of flat sales or slight growth, average sales in managed venues in the week to last Saturday (24 February) slipped 5% below the equivalent period in 2023. It indicates that some drinkers remain hesitant about spending, with CGA’s Consumer Pulse showing two thirds (67%) of adults still feel either severely or moderately impacted by the cost of living crisis.

Sales were down on all seven days of last week, including by 7% and 3% on Friday and Saturday, and the gap widened to 15% on Thursday, when rain swept in. This and some other days suffered by comparison to the same days in 2023, which were boosted by big European football matches involving English teams.

Among the major drinks categories beer and cider performed best, with sales down by only 1% year-on-year. Wine and soft drinks were down 3% and 9% respectively. The spirits category (down 15%) continues to lag well behind the levels of last year.

“Our Daily Drinks Tracker shows trading conditions in pubs and bars remain challenging,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Despite an easing of some cost pressures, many consumers are still keeping a very close eye on their spending. A strong Valentine’s Day was a welcome reminder that people are still keen to head out for special occasions, and with St Patrick’s Day and Easter nearing, suppliers and operators will be hoping that March is a brighter month than January and February.”