UK pubs are suffering a worse summer than last year as UK consumers drink at home to save money in response to the economic downturn, research revealed today.
Volume sales of alcohol in licensed premises including pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels fell 8% in the year to 9 August, while sales in supermarkets, convenience stores and supermarkets rose 3% in the same period, according to research firm Nielsen.
Jake Shepherd, Nielsen marketing director, said: "Our sales figures which cover the early summer period show that 2008 has been worse than 2007. With people cutting back on unnecessary expenses and another dreadful July and August weather-wise, we don't expect to see this trend alter."
"A good bank holiday weekend or an Indian summer may tempt people out but if it stays as dull as we have seen it, it is unlikely that consumers will want to front the expense of an evening out when they can stay at home with a bottle and save money," he added.
Pub beer sales have seen the biggest falls by alcohol category - down nearly 9% by volume over the past year, followed by liquor (-7.9%) and spirits (-5%).
Shepherd blamed the fall in pub beer sales on the decline of the working-class pub regular and economic trends.
"Now we have a totally different social structure with a large proportion of jobs in the service sector so that drinking culture which kept the trade afloat in the early 90s has faded and our data suggests that people are already cutting down on going to the pub," he said.
Cider was the biggest seller in the carry-out sector — up 15%, followed by spirits (4.5%) and liquor (3%).
By Nick Huber
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