A mix of stormy weather and mounting Covid-19 concerns contributed to a 14% sales drop across Britain’s bars, pubs and restaurants in early December.
According to CGA Strategy’s Drinks Recovery Tracker data, pubs, bars and restaurants in Britain saw average sales in the week ending 4 December drop by 14% compared with the same period in 2019. It followed a 12% decline in the previous seven days.
CGA Strategy attributed the decline to poor weather conditions nationwide, and a dip in consumer confidence due to the omicron Covid-19 variant.
However, spirits continued to outpace the drinks market as a whole. Although spirits sales during this period fell by 3%, this was far less than beer and cider (which both declined by 17%), wine (which dropped by 20%) and soft drinks (which decreased by 14%).
Jonathan Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK and Ireland, commented: “These numbers show it has been a very tough start to December for the drinking-out sector.
“New Covid-19 restrictions have come at the worst possible time and are particularly bad news for nightclubs and large venues in Britain’s town and city centres.
“On top of rising costs and supply issues, they are going to cause severe problems for hospitality well into 2022, and businesses deserve sustained government support on rates VAT and more to help them get through an extremely difficult period.”
Last week, trade body UK Hospitality warned new Covid-19 restrictions in England – which so far do not directly affect bars, restaurants or pubs – will ‘significantly impact’ consumer confidence and will be ‘particularly devastating’ to city-based hospitality venues.