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Out-of-home drinks sales slow down

Published:  05 September, 2017

The out-of-home alcoholic drinks market recorded a slight value increase in the past year, but declined in volume in line with the trend for drinking ‘less but better’.

Out-of-home value sales were up 0.6% to £24.6 billion on volumes down 2.6% in the year to mid-June, according to the latest CGA Alcohol Sales Tracker released today.

However, in the past six months this figure declined slightly, with value sales up just 0.4%, reflecting the change in market conditions at the end of H1 2017 compared to the end of 2016, said the CGA.

“While we are still seeing value growth it is no surprise we have seen a small decline in this figure – we have had the referendum, two major terror attacks and a snap election,” said chief executive, Phil Tate.

The fact that there was still growth showed how resilient consumers were and how customer-centric the market remained, he added.

The reduction, which continues a long-term slowdown as Brits scale back their drinking occasions and spend a little more on slightly fewer drinks, had been most apparent in London where value growth had more than halved in the past year, according to the report.

The decline was driven by a drop in sales of alcoholic drinks through leased and tenanted pubs, with only marginal growth among independent operators as consumers increasingly opted to drink at premium bars and managed pubs, often combining their visits with eating, according to the CGA.

Sales through the managed pub sector were up 2.8%, according to the research, which also revealed premium outlets were gaining market share, now accounting for 47% of all sales by value.

The research suggested more drinkers were “heeding messages about healthy levels of alcohol consumption”, at the same time as becoming more adventurous in their choices when going out, said Tate, adding it highlighted the “complexity and sophistication” of Britain’s out-of-home drinks market.