Xmas drinks sales show 'negative comparisons'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Three years of turmoil: CGA data shows drinks sales in pubs show year-on-year growth but remain well behind pre-pandemic levels (Credit:Getty/Peter Cade)
Three years of turmoil: CGA data shows drinks sales in pubs show year-on-year growth but remain well behind pre-pandemic levels (Credit:Getty/Peter Cade)

Related tags Finance Coronavirus Cga Drinks

December’s drinks sales showed positive year-on-year growth within the on-trade but remained well below pre-pandemic levels, the latest Drinks Recovery Tracker from CGA by NielsenIQ has revealed.

The tracker ​showed a strong final three weeks for 2022, with average drinks sales in the week to Saturday 17, 24 and 31 December running 11%, 43% and 26% respectively ahead of the equivalent period in 2021, meaning the on premise finished the year with 15 consecutive weeks of year-on-year growth.

However, with trade in December 2021 heavily impacted by concerns regarding the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the figures were less favourable when likened with 2019, the last comparable period pre-pandemic.

When compared with 2019, sales for the week to 17 December were 18% down while sales were 2% behind in the seven days to 24 December, thanks in part to the cost-of-living crisis and rail strikes​.

Crucial period 

CGA managing director UK and Ireland Johnathan Jones said: “December trading followed the pattern of the second half of 2022: comfortably ahead of last year’s levels, but well behind pre-Covid figures after adjustments for inflation.

“Considering the cost-of-living crisis and the impact of rail strikes​ on Christmas parties, many operators did well over the crucial festive period, but the negative comparisons with 2019 show trading conditions remain very tough.”

Additionally, the data highlighted key trading days for the 2022 festive season, including growth of 20% and 17% on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectively vs the same date last year while New Year’s Eve finished 22% ahead.

However, sales on all three days were behind 2019 levels by between 2% and 3%.

This comes as data from market intelligence firm Oxford Partnership recently revealed the average pub took £855 less ​over the key festive trading days.

Exceptionally difficult 

Category-wise, wine enjoyed a good end to the year with sales over the last three weeks up between 23% and 40%.

Beer, cider and soft drinks were also well ahead of 2021’s levels, with beer finishing ahead of 2019 levels for two of the last three weeks, while uplifts in spirits were more modest.

Jones added: “With no respite to inflationary pressures in sight, the first few months of 2023 will be exceptionally difficult.

“Government support on energy ​and other costs is urgently needed to protect businesses that are fragile after three years of turmoil.”

Related topics Events & Occasions

Related news

Show more