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Tightening restrictions squeeze drinks sales further

Published:  19 October, 2020

Tightening restrictions have squeezed food and drink sales further, with more disruption to pubs and bars looming with the new tiered system, according to new CGA research.

Drink sales in the seven days to Saturday 10 October were down by more than a third (38%) on the same week in 2019, CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker indicated. 

Total drink sales were down between 25% and 44% on every day of that week, with sales of beer, wine, cider and soft drinks all down between 30% and 38% across the week, while spirits were cut in half for a second successive week, down 52%.

Meanwhile, CGA’s latest Volume Pool data showed that year-on-year food sales were down between 6% and 10% from Monday to Wednesday (5 to 7 October), but then dropped between 24% and 28% from Thursday to Sunday (8 to 11 October).  

CGA said the gap between food and drink sales were likely to grow after the introduction of restrictions, which will force the closure of many pubs and bars in Tier 3 areas unless they are operating as restaurants.

“Our data shows that eating-out has so far survived the curfew and other restrictions better than drinking-out occasions, and the new tiered system is going to pile even more pressure on drink-led venues,” said Jonathan Jones, CGA’s director of client services. 

“Restaurants continue to do an excellent job of communicating safety precautions to guests, and will be hoping to sustain sales at current levels. But pubs and bars in high-alert areas without a substantial food offer are facing a very tough autumn, and operators and suppliers will once again have to be agile in response to yet more challenges,” he said.

It has been estimated by industry bodies that the hospitality industry faces 750,000 job losses without urgent government support.