Like-for-like on-trade drinks sales volumes down

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

A sporting chance: volumes sales fall versus the same week last year (credit: Getty/sturti)
A sporting chance: volumes sales fall versus the same week last year (credit: Getty/sturti)

Related tags Beer Cask ale Stout Finance

On-trade drinks sales have fallen behind last year’s volumes but it would be difficult to beat last year’s biggest single day of sales when England competed in the football World Cup quarter final.

The past week – from 4 December to 10 December 2023 versus 5 December to 11 December – saw volumes decline against England’s quarter final match v France in the 2022 World Cup, resulting in a drop in overall draught pint sales of 2.1%.

The data, collated by insights expert Oxford Partnership, found Friday is starting to grow its share of weekly sales with an increase in friends and family get-togethers in the run-up to Christmas.

Stout and ale winning

The big winners in the past week have again been the more traditional winter drinks (stout and ale) with stout seeing the biggest gains of 15.4% while ale sales rose by 9.6%.

The analysis found last year saw huge lager sales driven by the football tournament, which took place in Qatar, meaning that the knock-on effect this year is a total category decline of 5.4% and within the category, the biggest losers were core lager, down by 7.8%, and world 4% ABV beer down 7.0%.

This week has also seen footfall flat versus 2022, except for Saturday and Sunday, which both fell against 2022. Hardest hit were city centres where footfall was down 1.6% versus the same period in 2022, hit again by train strikes during the week. Suburban and rural areas fared the best with Friday being the strongest day.

Increased visit length

Average consumer dwell time grew at a total level to 127 minutes v 122 minutes in the same week last year (up 4.1%) with city centres driving the highest growth (up 5.8%) but the dwell time is down versus last week.

All locations benefited from an increased consumer visit length against last year, with suburban outlets up 2.4% and rural up 3.4%.

Oxford Partnership CEO Alison Jordan said: “I guess it’s not a huge surprise to see a decline versus this time last year – a World Cup quarter final is a very hard act to follow.

“What is pleasing is the decline this week hasn’t been too big as the volume data from Vianet shows and we should hopefully see the trade starting to improve now that the festive season is well upon us and there are no more [rail] strikes to come.”

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