Out-of-home drinks sales in Wales have rebounded past pre-lockdown levels—an encouraging sign of consumer confidence as England prepares to trade again, though the market remains held down by strict restrictions.

CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows that in the seven days to Saturday 14 November, the week Wales was released from a 17-day lockdown, sales were 32% lower than the same week in 2019. In the following week to last Saturday (21 November), they were down by 37% on last year.

While the weekly figures show a significant shortfall on 2019, they are better than before Wales’ lockdown in October, when year-on-year drops were above 40% in every week.

There was a particularly strong immediate sales bounce as venues opened their doors, with trading on the first day back (Monday 9 November) up 26% on the same day in 2019, and flat the next day.

The figures follow Wales’ move to allow limited numbers of people from different households to meet in venues, though they are still subject to restrictions including curfews—which have held down weekend trading as a result.

This shows that many consumers are eager to get back to pubs, bars and restaurants after an enforced absence, and will do so with confidence as soon as they are able,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “But it is also clear that extensive restrictions on visits are dampening down sales ahead of the most crucial trading period of the year. With even tougher controls awaiting in England after lockdown, it is going to be an extremely challenging festive season.”

The Tracker shows that wine was the best performing category in Wales last week, with year-on-year sales down 26%. Beer (down 36%), cider (down 39%) and soft drinks (down 34%) fared worse, and spirits (down 54%) suffered from the curfew on late-night drinking.

To learn more about how CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker and other research sources can help all businesses identify trends and sales opportunities, please email david.lancaster@cga.co.uk

     

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