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More flat drinks sales before make-or-break Christmas

On Premise drinks sales were virtually flat again last week, ahead of the crucial run-in to Christmas for operators and suppliers.

CGA by NIQ’s latest Daily Drinks Tracker shows average sales in managed venues in the week to last Saturday (18 November) were just 0.5% ahead of the same week in 2022. Year-on-year sales comparisons have now sat between +1% and -1% for four weeks out of the last five, separated by short-lived growth around Halloween and Bonfire Night. Five of the seven days of last week brought small year-on-year growth, peaking at +5% on Wednesday (15 November). However, weekend sales struggled to match the levels of November 2022, dropping 2.5% on Saturday (18 November) and rising just 0.5% on Friday (17 November). Year-on-year numbers were modest across four main drinks categories—beer (up 4%), cider (up 4%), wine (up 2%) and soft drinks (up 0.3%)—but spirits (down 10%) had yet another challenging week. “It’s been a flat Autumn for drinks sales since the end of the Rugby World Cup, making Christmas a more important period than ever for the On Premise,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA by NIQ’s managing director, UK and Ireland. “Hopefully it represents a lull before a December rush, rather than a sign of things to come, and news of National Insurance reductions in this week’s Autumn Statement may encourage consumers to relax their spending in the weeks ahead. Nevertheless, with costs still so high for individuals and businesses alike, suppliers and operators are going to have to work very hard to achieve growth over the festive season.”


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