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Sales of BWS resurgent in hospitality sector after relaxation of restrictions

Published:  04 February, 2022

The easing of Covid-19 restrictions is having a positive impact on drink sales across the on-trade, according to the latest CGA Drinks Recovery Tracker.

The research revealed that average drinks sales by value in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the week to Saturday (29 January) were 8% below the equivalent period in 2020. However, it is important to note that this is the first time that the weekly comparison (to 2020 levels) has dropped into single digits since November 2021.

The week included three full days of trading without Plan B restrictions in England, and sales last Thursday and Saturday (27 and 29 January) were just 4% and 6% behind 2020 levels. In Scotland and Wales, where restrictions have been slower to ease, weekly sales were 17% and 20% behind – though both numbers represent week-on-week improvements.

Jonathan Jones, CGA’s MD, UK and Ireland, commented: “These figures leave us cautiously optimistic that pubs, bars and restaurants can build their sales over the coming weeks. Consumer confidence about going out is gradually recovering, and the end to work-from-home instructions and restrictions on clubs will boost night-time visits in particular. Covid-19 challenges are far from over, sales are still well behind 2020 levels, and many people face a squeeze on disposable income. But after an immensely challenging December and January we can hopefully look forward to something of a recovery over February and beyond.”

According to CGA, spirit revenues continue to outperform beer and wine in the hospitality sector. Turnover from spirit sales rose 3% (week to 29 January) when compared to the same period in 2020, thanks to the ongoing popularity of cocktails, while beer (-12%), cider (-13%), wine (-14%) and soft drinks (-10%) lagged.

All figures are taken from CGA’s weekly Drinks Recovery Tracker, which monitors managed outlet sales. It provides breakdowns of sales by category, day, brand and other segmentations, and helps suppliers and operators benchmark performance and identify changes in trends and consumer preferences.