Drinks sales down for fourth consecutive week

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Difficult trading conditions: drinks sales down for fourth consecutive week (Credit: Getty/miodrag ignjatovic)
Difficult trading conditions: drinks sales down for fourth consecutive week (Credit: Getty/miodrag ignjatovic)

Related tags Drinks Finance Cga

Drinks sales in Britain’s managed pubs and bars have dropped year-on-year for a fourth successive week, with train strikes adding to the challenges facing operators.

The latest Daily Drinks Tracker from CGA by NIQ showed average sales by value in the on-trade during the seven days to Saturday 3 February were 0.6% down below the same period in 2023.

However, it followed harsher drops in the previous weeks​, with sales finishing 8% down in the week to Saturday 27 January and 7% across the preceding the seven days, demonstrating “patchy” consumer confidence after a “flurry” of festive spending, CGA said.

Difficult trading conditions 

Footfall was also hit by rolling train strikes, which contributed to year-on-year drops in sales of 11% on Tuesday (30 January) and 7% on Saturday (3 February), despite the opening games in the Six Nations rugby tournament.

Though trading was stronger midweek, according to the data, and sales were up by 10% and 5% on Wednesday and Thursday (31 January and 1 February), thanks in part to a programme of Premier League fixtures. 

CGA​ by NIQ managing director UK and Ireland Jonathan Jones said: “Whilst four weeks of negative year-on-year trading is not the start to 2024 we were hoping for, it is encouraging to see the declines have slowed to almost flat last week, despite some difficult trading conditions driven by train strikes.”

Category wise, beer sales were 4% up year-on-year, while cider and wine were 3% and 2% ahead respectively, though soft drinks were down 2%.

Cautiously optimistic 

Despite the spirits category having seen an improved performance week-on-week, sales were still down 13% year-on-year.  

Jones added: “Our consumer research shows demand is still strong and growing month-on-month, particularly for the core on premise visitor who goes out once a week or more.

“With January now behind us and the Six Nations starting, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the sector.” 


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