Festive drinks sales plummet 73% in on-trade

11th January, 2021 by Owen Bellwood

Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants saw drinks sales drop by 73% in the seven days leading up to Boxing Day (26 December), according to CGA data.

Sales in bars, pubs and restaurants in the UK dropped 73% in the week ending 26 December

According to CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker, sales for the week to 26 December were a quarter of 2019 levels as tightened restrictions across the country shuttered venues.

Year-on-year drinks sales on both 23 and 24 December were down 48% and spirit sales dropped 58% on Christmas Eve.

During the penultimate week before Christmas, sales were down 76% and ‘big festive occasions’ such as Mad Friday and the last Saturday before Christmas witnessed declining sales of 75% and 71% respectively.

As revellers prepared to ring in the new year, CGA found that sales in venues that were allowed to open on 30 December were down 21% year on year, with all alcoholic drinks categories recording their best day of December.

Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland, said: “These figures confirm a devastating December for out-of-home drinks sales.

“The punishing restrictions across Britain made trading exceptionally difficult at what should have been the busiest time of year for pubs, bars and restaurants.

“However, the rallying of sales on the last day before full lockdown shows that consumers remain eager to drink out. Alongside the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, I am very optimistic that consumers will return with enthusiasm when able to do so.”

England’s third lockdown began on 5 January, with other UK nations under similar restrictions.

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