Drinks sales up after four weeks of negative numbers

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Raised hopes: drinks sales in growth for first time in four weeks (Credit: Getty/Wasan Tita)
Raised hopes: drinks sales in growth for first time in four weeks (Credit: Getty/Wasan Tita)

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Pubs and bars saw year-on-year growth for the first time in more than a month during the seven days to Saturday 10 February.

The latest Daily Drinks Tracker from CGA by NIQ showed sales by value in managed venues were up 1% compared with the equivalent period in 2023.

Following four successive weeks of negative numbers​, attributed to a squeeze on spending, variable weather and rail strikes, last week’s trade was “boosted” by stable weather and the Six Nations Rugby tournament, CGA said.

Muted sales 

The combination of mild temperatures and matchdays helped sales to rise 9% on Sunday (4 February), while the following Saturday (10 February) brought year-on-year growth of 5% on the back of the England v Wales fixture.

However, sales were “muted” in between, down on four of the seven days and bottoming out with a drop of 8% as the rain moved in on Thursday (8 February). 

This comes as the latest CGA RSM Hospitality Business Tracker​ last week revealed hospitality groups saw like-for-like sales growth of just 0.1% in January.

In addition, the tracker found pubs trading finished 1.5% ahead in terms of like-for-like sales growth while restaurants saw 0.9%.

Willing to spend 

Category wise, the Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) section gained most from the rugby, with beer and cider sales up by 5% and 6% respectively.

However, soft drinks and wine were in marginal declines of 1% and 2% and spirits sales saw a 7% decline against the same week in 2023, though this marked an improvement on the steep drops of recent weeks. 

CGA by NIQ managing director UK and Ireland Jonathan Jones said: “These numbers are a relief for venues and suppliers after a difficult January and raise hopes that the post-Christmas hangover has finally worn off.

“They show that consumers are still keen to get out into our pubs, bars and restaurants and are willing to spend, despite continued pressures on their disposable income.” 

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