Wet weather dashes trade for bank holiday weekend

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Bright spot: stout was a winner as sales and footfall dropped (credit: Getty/Alberto Marrupe Gutierrez)
Bright spot: stout was a winner as sales and footfall dropped (credit: Getty/Alberto Marrupe Gutierrez)

Related tags Oxford Partnership Bank holiday Finance Stout Lager

Poor weather on the late May bank holiday weekend led to a 5.5% sales volume drop in UK pubs.

Even though 49.9m pints were sold across the three-day weekend from Saturday 25 May to Monday 27 May, sales declined versus the same weekend in 2023, according to real-time market intelligence business Oxford Partnership.

The sunny spot for the predominantly wet weekend was Saturday, when sales rose by 2.8% versus 2023, driven by huge sporting events.  

Football fans drove strong sales in Manchester, Glasgow, Southampton and Leeds as all three cities had teams that were involved in major fixtures.

Lack of sunshine

The average pub served 1,317 pints of draught beer and cider over the bank holiday, equating to a £6,083 income generator, but Oxford Partnership said this was hampered by the lack of sunshine and the cost-of-living crisis that continues to bite.

The overall decline in beer and cider sales was driven by all lager categories, but particularly world lager, which was down 18.8%, and premium lager, down 13.2%.

The cider category also suffered with a decline in sales of 14.5% for fruit and 8.8% for apple variants.

In keeping with its recent trajectory, the stand-out performance continued to be stout, up a whopping 29.5%, with ale also in growth by 7.9%.

With regard to footfall into hospitality venues, there was a 1.1% decline in sales, driven by rural and suburban locations, as consumers appeared to stay at home for the weekend.

Dwell time boost

Saturday drove the most visits to outlets, albeit only marginally, up 0.5% while Friday declined heavily by 2.7% v 2023. City centres had the best weekend with overall footfall up 0.8% while the damp weather kept people away from rural areas, which saw sales fall by 3.3%.

There was some good news when it came to dwell time, which rose by 2.2% over the weekend, driven by city centre locations (up 5.6%), which corresponded with the additional footfall over the bank holiday.

Suburban outlets also saw marginal growth of 0.8% but footfall was down. Unfortunately, rural areas struggled and saw shorter visits (down 3.3%) compared to 2023.

Oxford Partnership CEO Alison Jordan said: “We were really hopeful for a strong bank holiday for the trade because of all of the sport but sadly the weather left us disappointed, and the knock-on effect was a tough weekend for sales.

“At least Saturday provided some respite, particularly in key parts of the country.  Here’s hoping for some sunnier weather to lift spirits – and sales – very soon.”

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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