CGA: GB on-trade can look forward to a Merry Christmas

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Christmas could prove to be a bumper season for UK licensees, according to data and research agency CGA.

Two-thirds of people (62%) visit the on-trade to eat or drink over Christmas, with half going out more than they would at other times of the year.

Last year the on-trade saw impressive sales growth over the festive period, helped in part by the mild weather and the fact Christmas 2018 fell mid-week, giving consumers two weekends either side of Christmas Day to visit pubs and restaurants.

This helped boost overall sales of food and drink through managed outlets by 7% on the previous year, with sales of food up 4.3%, and drink sales rising 4.7%, according to the annual CGA Christmas Report 2018.

Restaurants proved the most popular destination type, with 70% of consumers going out to a restaurant during December 2018, a rise on the previous year. Some 64% of consumers say they visit pubs over Christmas, while 23% visit bars, and 18% attend Christmas markets.

Said CGA director Karl Chessell, “Mild and ice-free weather, and the way Christmas falls are two of the biggest influencing factors on whether consumers choose to eat and drink out of home over the festive period.”

“With Christmas Day and Boxing Day again falling mid-week this year, we should see consumers tempted out – although that does depend on the weather and sentiment following the General Election. A festive sales boost will be a welcome relief to restaurant, pub and bar operators who have experienced a difficult trading year.”

Some 66 million visits are made to the on-trade in GB over Christmas with 43% of consumers spending more on drinking out than they normally do and 45% spending more on eating out.

CGA’s Christmas Report 2019 will be available from January 2020 .

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