Pubs experienced some festive cheer over the Christmas period with the majority posting better sales than figures than in 2007, according to research by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR).
A survey of the ALMR's 100 member companies, encompassing nearly 1,700 pubs, revealed that nearly six in ten saw a rise in like-for-like sales compared to 2007.
But the figures revealed that punters held off from going to the pub until the festive season was in full swing.
In the week commencing 14 December, more than half of respondents (55.6%) reported a fall in trade, with 25% seeing a drop of more than 10%, compared to 2007.
In the week commencing 21 December, trading picked up once again with 61% of respondents reporting an increase in trade compared to Christmas week 2007.
In the week commencing 28 December, overall trading improved further still with two-thirds (66.5%) of respondents reporting an increase compared to the previous year. 25% reported that trade was up by 10% more.
However whilst some outlets saw their trading improve by over a third (35%) compared to 2007, other operators saw sales drop by up to 15%.
ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: "These figures show that Christmas was a mixed bag for bars and pubs.
"In many ways, 2008 has been a year that many operators will want to forget. We have seen record numbers of pubs closing, a collapse in openings and devastating hikes in alcohol duty.
"Despite this, pubs and bars have come out fighting by offering value for money, giving credit crunched Britons more bang for its buck."
By Daniel Thomas
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