Feb rail strikes had 'lesser impact' on sector

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Lesser impact: consumers becoming accustomed to adjusting plans due to rail strikes (Credit: Getty/South_agency)
Lesser impact: consumers becoming accustomed to adjusting plans due to rail strikes (Credit: Getty/South_agency)

Related tags Finance Cga Drinks

Recent rail strikes had a “lesser impact” on drinks sales than previous ones as consumers become accustomed to “adjusting plans”, the latest Drinks Recovery Tracker from CGA by NielsenIQ has revealed.

Average drinks sales by value in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the seven days to Saturday 4 February were 6% above the same week in 2022, the data showed.

The two days affected by train driver strikes, Wednesday 1 and Friday 3, were mildly impacted, achieving 2% and 4% year-on-year growth respectively.

However, sales on the other five days of the week fluctuated, staying flat on Monday (30 January) but hitting a high of 18% on Tuesday (31 January).

Skewed comparisons 

In addition, the start of the Six Nations rugby tournament helped to deliver growth of 7% on Saturday (4 February).

This follows 24% growth in the first week of January​ and increases of 13%, 11% and 9% in the second ​and third ​and fourth ​weeks respectively.

However, these comparisons were skewed by the impacts of the Omicron variant of Covid in early 2022.

Moreover, with inflation​ currently running at just over 10%, last week’s sales were down from 2022 in real terms, according to CGA.

Category wise, it was a good week for cider (up 13%) and beer (up 10%) while wine (up 10%) and soft drinks (up 12%) also performed well.

Cost pressures 

Though spirits sales (down 9%) were behind 2022 for the third week in a row.

CGA managing director UK and Ireland Johnathan Jones said: “While year-on-year growth has steadily slowed since the start of 2023 as the impact of Omicron falls out of the 2022 comparison period, it is encouraging to see drinks sales still running ahead of this time last year.

“Despite all the cost pressures facing consumers, many continue to prioritise the on premise over other areas for their discretionary spending.

“It’s also interesting to note the latest rail strikes have had a lesser impact on total market sales than previous ones, which suggests consumers have become accustomed to adjusting their plans.”

Related topics Cider

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