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Drinks sales dip again but LAD categories hold up

Britain’s On Premise ended February with another small year-on-year decline in sales, with solid beer and cider numbers not quite compensating for a sharp drop in spirits.

CGA by NIQ’s Daily Drinks Tracker shows average sales in managed venues in the week to last Saturday (2 March) were 2% below the equivalent period in 2023. This follows a 5% drop over the previous seven days, and three weeks of flat or marginal growth before that. 


The last week of February was a mixed picture for sales, with growth on four of the seven days—peaking at 2% on Thursday (29 February). However, wet weather dampened sales on other days and it was another modest weekend of trading, with sales down by 2% year-on-year on both Friday and Saturday (1 and 2 March). 


Category-wise, beer (up 1%) and cider (up 0.1%) were both ahead of 2023 for the sixth week in a row. Wine (down 0.2%) was solid too, while soft drinks were down 5%. The spirits category continues to run far behind other segments, with sales down by 11% year-on-year.

“February was another challenging month for suppliers and operators, with consumers’ confidence still very much in recovery,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland.

“While LAD categories have been fairly resilient this year, the changes we have seen in the market landscape and the shifting dynamics of occasions that consumers are visiting for, have made sales growth more challenging for Spirits. With Spring, St Patrick’s Day, UK public holidays and some big sporting occasions all looming, and the weather hopefully brightening, we can be hopeful that consumers’ spending will pick up soon.” 


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