On-trade spirits sales fall 83% in tier three areas

26th October, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Pubs and bars in areas across England under the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions saw spirits sales drop 83% between 15 and 17 October compared to the same period last year.

Drink sales at venues under tier three restrictions fell 73%

The UK government is currently enforcing a three-tier system for England in an attempt to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, ranging from tier one (medium) and tier two (high) to tier three (very high).

Tier one includes measures such as a 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants, while tier three means pubs and bars must close, with the exception of restaurants and pubs that serve “substantial” meals.

According to the latest data from analyst firm CGA, the restrictions have had a “seismic” impact on on-trade sales.

Data from CGA found that venues in tier three have seen sales drop 62% year-on-year between 15 and 17 October. Drinks sales during the period were down 73% and the spirits category saw the sharpest fall in sales with a drop of 83%.

In tier two, total sales were down 54% during the period, and drink sales dropped 59%. In the lowest level of restrictions, total sales dropped 27% and drink sales were down 31%.

“These figures lay bare the instant and seismic impact of the new tiered system on hospitality,” said CGA group chief executive Phil Tate.

“The loss of nearly two-thirds of daily sales in top-tier areas like Liverpool is catastrophic for local operators, and with Greater Manchester now set to join them, there is a lot more hardship to come.

“It is also alarming to see a sharp drop-off in second-tier areas, where businesses are battling relentless challenges without financial support. Urgent government help is needed if businesses and jobs are to be sustained through this rapid downturn in sales.”

The figures outlining the impact of the three-tier system on the on-trade in England come as research shows that just 3.5% of coronavirus cases in England are linked to the hospitality industry.

According to the latest figures from Public Health England, there were 1,202 new acute respiratory infections in England between 12-18 October. Of those tested, 835 had at least one linked case that tested positive for Covid-19.

Just 26 out of the 835 cases were linked to food outlet and restaurant settings, just 3.5% of cases for the period. The highest proportion of positive cases of coronavirus were linked to educational settings (30.2%) and care homes (25.1%).

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