On-trade drinks sales dropped back below pre-Covid levels last week after a short boost from the summer heatwave.
After two successive weeks of strong growth, CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average sales by value in managed venues in the seven days to Saturday, 20th August, were 1% down on the same week in 2019.
In line with the weather, it was a week of two halves, with sales ahead by 14% on Sunday, and by 6% and 1% on Monday and Tuesday. Trading was then down by between 2% and 12% from Wednesday to Friday, before rallying to 1% up on Saturday, due to the Joshua/Usyk boxing rematch. Figures in the latter part of the week were slightly skewed by bank holiday comparatives in 2019.
Comparisons with the same week in August 2021 were more positive, with sales finishing 10% up year on year. However, trading in that week was depressed by the lingering effects of Covid lockdowns. And with inflation running at around 10%, year-on-year growth has effectively been wiped out.
On a category basis, spirits sales were up by 9% on the same week in 2019, as summer cocktails continued to flourish. Soft drinks were up 2%, but other key categories were down: beer by 2%, cider by 0.3%, and wine by 14%.
“Hot weather and staycations made it a good start to August for drinks sales, so it’s frustrating to see them drop back below pre-Covid markers again,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland.
“With high inflation simultaneously squeezing consumers’ spending and adding pressure on operators’ costs, there is little respite. Fingers will be crossed for decent weather over the bank holiday weekend to help the On Premise end the month on a high.”