Rugby World Cup fired English pub sales

UK pubs and bars enjoyed big uplifts in drink sales during England’s participation in the Rugby World Cup.

UK pubs and bars enjoyed big uplifts in drink sales during England’s participation in the Rugby World Cup although they could have been bigger had England stayed in the Cup. England games proved a big bonus for pubs in the locality of the matches where people came in to watch the matches.

New figures from several of CGA Peach’s exclusive market measures reveals its Trading Index showing a particularly significant – but hardly surprising – increase on the days of England’s crucial games against Wales and Australia. At these times bars’ average drink takings were more than £1,000 up on an average Saturday. Within a three-mile radius of Twickenham, bars’ uplift was a massive £6,000-plus on both occasions.

Similarly, several other cities hosting World Cup games saw drink sales rocket, with takings in Cardiff at least triple those of an average Saturday on the days of Wales’ first two home games. Other cities saw surges as a result of hosting games too.

The figures indicate a welcome fillip for drinks-led pubs who’ve been very active in promoting themselves as venues for supporters wanting to watch games—and who’ve also been rueing England’s early exit from the competition.

Additional data from CGA Peach’s separate BrandPulse survey of consumer habits shows one in six British consumers opted to watch a fixture from one of the tournament’s first two weekends in pubs, bars or restaurants, with England vs Wales the most popular game.

These positive trends are backed up by more data from CGA Peach’s Coffer Peach Business Tracker which reveals that like-for-like sales in pubs were up 9.0% in the week beginning 28th September – well ahead of a 2.7% increase for restaurants that week. This shows that while the tournament has been good news for wet-led pubs, restaurants may be viewing it as more of a distraction than a benefit.

“For pubs and bars that rely on drink for the bulk of their sales, events like the Rugby World Cup are hugely important and our data shows they have capitalised on the opportunities,” commented CGA Peach Account Director Jamie Campbell, “At a time when the sector as a whole is seeing food sales increase much faster than wet, it’s good to see that pubs remain very popular places for people to meet, drink and enjoy their sport.”

Here, VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben told Drinks Industry Ireland, “We’ve no research in this area but speaking to publicans around the country it certainly has had an uplifting effect.

“That would vary with the type of pub. Obviously those most associated with sport and rugby in particular would have seen the greatest benefit.

“It shows that if you’re not lucky enough to be able to attend these events the next-best thing in terms of atmosphere and excitement is to be found in the local pub.”

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