UK off-trade sales finally decline as bar trade rebounds

29 June, 2021

Sales of beers, wines and spirits have finally started to decline in the UK off-trade after bars were permitted to open their doors once again.

BWS sales soared at supermarkets across the country last year as a result of the enforced closure of the on-trade.

Sales were up by more than 30% most weeks as Brits stocked up on drinks to enjoy at home. The trend continued into 2021, with off-trade BWS sales up 25% year-on-year in January and 26% in February, according to Nielsen.

The on-trade started to recover when beer gardens were permitted to reopen in April, but the recent reopening of indoor pubs, bars and restaurants has finally put an end to the off-trade growth.

Nielsen noted that the BWS category was down by 4.4% in supermarkets for the four weeks to June 19. It said alcohol spend “shifted away” from retailers as indoor drinking and eating returned. 

Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight, said the off-trade should still enjoy a strong summer as the on-trade rebounds. “Whilst more food spend will shift back to hospitality, the increase in seasonal travel and families and friends finally able to join together without restrictions, will give an added boost to food and drink categories at supermarkets,” he said.





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Nick Strangeway

Bar food's blurred lines

Once upon a time pubs and bars were somewhere you went with the sole purpose of getting pissed and there wasn’t a knife and fork in sight, just a packet of dry roasted nuts.

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