On-trade drinks sales have stayed flat for a second week in a row as operators and suppliers head into the crucial last two months of the year.
CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows year-on-year average sales in managed venues were in fractional growth at 0.4% in the week to last Saturday (28th October). This follows a 0.2% drop in the previous seven days, which, in turn, followed eight weeks of sales growth out of nine.
Pubs and bars started and ended the week well, with growth of 13% on Sunday and 2% on Saturday. The latter was boosted by the Rugby World Cup final, early Halloween footfall, and boxing involving Tyson Fury.
However, trading was negative in between, with daily sales down by between 1% and 4%. This is in line with recent weekend patterns showing solid sales on Sundays but softer trading on Fridays, as some consumers restrict their big nights out.
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Category-wise, beer (up 5%) and cider (up 4%) were the best performers, with wine (up 3%) not far behind. Soft drinks (down 5%) and spirits (down 9%) were weaker.
“After a good start to the autumn, venues and suppliers struggled for drinks sales growth in the second half of October,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland.
“Wild weather hasn’t helped, and England’s semi-final defeat in the Rugby World Cup denied pubs and bars a bumper Saturday. Consumers who stayed at home during storms Babet and Ciarán will hopefully release some pent-up spending, and the Bank of England’s holding of interest rates may help to improve consumers’ confidence as we move towards the all-important run-up to Christmas.”