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A Positive End to Quarter One for the UK On Trade

Oxford Partnership’s On Trade Tracker shows that Easter definitely drove some cheer for the UK hospitality industry, finishing the first quarter of the year on a positive note.

In the four-week period to 31st March, volumes grew +2.4% vs. the same period last year, as consumers celebrated an earlier Easter than 2023 as well as the Six Nations, and a multitude of big Football fixtures. Over the Easter break, Suburban outlets alone saw sales grow by +7.2% in Week 14.

And that’s not all the good news!  Outlet closures slowed in the 4 weeks to only 0.1% compared to   -2.4% in February. 

Plus consumer footfall also showed growth +1.7% year-to-date and we can see a +3% growth over the latter part of the week in Pubs & Bars.

Consumer Dwell time continued to grow +4.9%, again driven by Pubs & Bars +6%, which we are also seeing in the latest Barclays Consumer Insight.

When it comes to the days that have delivered the best results for the on trade, Sunday was the BIG winner for consumer footfall with a huge increase of +23% vs. 23. 

Food Pubs drove this growth with +33% more footfall than a year ago. Other star performers were Bar & Kitchens, where Brunches and Ultimate Roasts have been attracting +31% footfall. Suburban outlets were key to this growth +32% with City Centres behind the pace at +14% vs. 2023.

March’s consumer spending on overall Eating & Drinking saw stronger growth than in February, at +2.6% compared to +2.1%. This was driven by consumers gathering to watch the Six Nations and FA Cup fixtures, and to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.  Pubs & Bars drove the growth +3.2% whilst restaurants continued to decline -12.6%. For restaurants the issue continues to be the decline in footfall with transaction volumes -15%, compounded by the declining length of the consumer visits -5.2% per occasion.

From a category perspective, in the 4 weeks we can see that draught Beer & Cider volumes grew +0.7% and year to date +2.3% driven by a welcome return of volume to City Centres and especially London. Stout continued to drive growth +9.6% YTD as well as World Lager +7.3%.

So, all in all, a very healthy end to the first quarter of the year for the UK on trade!

Oxford Pertnership’s On Trade Tracker provides a top-level snapshot of hospitality performance in the UK monthly. The data is drawn from Oxford’s Market Watch, Vianet Plc’s Draught Volume Data Pool and Barclays UK Debit and Credit Transactional Data.

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