According to CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker, average sales in managed venues in the week to Saturday 2 December were 2% behind the same week last year.
The figures highlight that year-on-year growth has been at under 1% in six of the past seven weeks and was only broken by strong trading around Halloween and Bonfire Night.
However, there was year-on-year growth for four of the seven days with Sunday (26 November) seeing the peak at 11%, while Saturday trading was also 2%, continuing the pattern of solid weekend sales, the insight experts said.
According to CGA by NIQ, as the football World Cup took place in the same period last year, this made comparisons difficult.
Comparing with the World Cup meant long alcoholic drink categories saw slumps with beer sales down 0.3%, cider down 2.8%, a 4% drop for soft drinks and 8% for spirits however, wine saw a small rise (1%).
The last tracker, which recorded sales up to Saturday 25 November, found drinks sales in the on-trade were down 5% year on year.
It showed sales on Monday and Friday (20 and 24 November) significantly below the same days in 2022, when England played the first two games in the football World Cup.
On the latest figures, CGA by NIQ managing director for UK and Ireland Jonathan Jones said: “It is frustrating drinks sales continue to hover just below last year’s levels but the World Cup makes meaningful comparisons hard.
“Consumers remain eager to enjoy drinking in pubs and bars but the lingering cost-of-living crisis and Aslef member rail strikes are two significant threats to festive footfall.
“Having said that, 29% of operator business leaders are seeing Christmas bookings ahead of last year with only 15% sating reservations are down.
“So there are are also reasons to be positive about the festive trading period, which can make or break the year for many restaurants, pubs and bars.”