The tracker showed average drinks sales in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the seven days to Saturday 11 February were up 12% compared with the same period last year, meaning trading has been above the equivalent period in 2022 during every week of this year so far.
However, CGA managing director UK and Ireland Johnathan Jones noted comparative year-on-year growth was “relatively easy” at the moment as the hospitality sector was still suffering from fears regarding the Omicron variant of Covid this time last year.
Jones said: “Year-on-year comparatives are relatively easy at the moment, but it’s great to see that drinks sales growth is now outpacing inflation.”
The data also showed a good upswing from 6% in the previous tracker, the first week-on-week improvement since December, with year-on-year trading ahead on every day of the week, peaking at 12% up on Sunday (5 February).
Nevertheless, in keeping with recent patterns, growth was more modest on Friday (up 2%) and Saturday up (4%) than on most midweek days.
Category wise, wine had a particularly good week, with sales up by 21% on the same period in 2022 while cider (up 19%), beer (up 16%) and soft drinks (up 17%) were all in double-digit growth too.
However, similarly to other recent trackers, spirits sales were 5% behind with figures for the category remaining “flattened” as consumers reduce big nights out on weekends.
Jones added: “Achieving real-terms increases in such a difficult trading environment is very impressive, and testament to the enduring appeal of pubs and bars, even when consumers are feeling the pinch on spending.”