Beer Sales Down Yet Again

5 Jan 2011

NEW HMRC FIGURES SHOW BEER SALES IN “ON TRADE” DOWN BY 6.3% ON YEAR EARLIER AS GMB TIED TENANTS FEAR 2.5% VAT RISE WILL KILL MORE PUBS

Beer sales fell again in the year to October 2010 with beer sales in the “on trade” falling off cliff – down 38% from peak levels - as pubs are priced out of the market and close says GMB.

Total alcohol volumes released for UK consumption in the year to October 2010 are up 1% on the levels for the year to November 09, the lowest point in the recession, but down 0.5% on the figure for the year to September 2010.

Official HMRC figures released today show that the volume of wine released for UK consumption in the year to October 2010 was down by 0.6% on the volume for the year to September 2010 and was 1.5% up on the volume for the year to October 2009.

In the year to October 2010 the volume of cider released for UK consumption was down by 1.4% on the volume for the year to September 2010 and was 2.2% up on the volume for the year to October 2009.

In the year to October 2010 the volume of spirits released for UK consumption was up by 0.6% on the volume for the year to September 2010 and up 0.7% on the volume for the year to September 2009.

In the year to October 2010 the volume of beer released for UK consumption was down by 0.3% on the volume for the year to September 2010 and was 3.4% down on the volume for the year to October 2009.

In the year to October 2010 the volume of beer released for UK consumption in the “on trade” was down by 0.3% on the volume for the year to September 2010 and was 6.3% down on the figure for the year to October 2009. Sales of beer in the “on trade” are down 38% on the levels in 2002.

In the year to October 2010 the volume of beer released for UK consumption in the “off trade” was down by 0.4% on the volume for the year to September 2010 and was 0.1% up on the volume for the year to October 2009.

These figures are from a GMB analysis of the latest official figures for alcohol released for UK consumption up to October 2010, the latest figure available which were released today by HMRC.

The analysis by GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, shows an unsteady and uneven recovery underway in the seasonally adjusted monthly volumes of some type of alcoholic drinks released for consumption in the UK while volumes are still well below pre-recession levels for all types of alcoholic drinks except cider.

The indices for the seasonally adjusted monthly volumes of wine, beer, cider and spirits released for UK consumption from August 2007 to October 2010 are set out in the Table below with the figures indexed from the volumes in June 2002.

In value terms alcohol consumption is still well down on the peak level of £43.4 billion sold in the UK in 2007. Beer had a market share of 41.6% of all sales in 2009 and volumes are still declining. Spirits had a market share of 20.2 % of sales in 2009.  Volumes of wines and ciders, with a market share of 38.2% of sales in 2009, are growing. In 2009 total alcohol sales in the UK had fallen in value by 4.6% to £41.4 billion

Hayley Brennan spokesperson for GMB tied tenants said, “GMB tied tenants are looking to January 2011 with dread as todays 2.5% Vat rise pushes up drink prices in pubs. The differential in the price of beer in supermarkets and pubs will widen even more. More pubs will close. Beer sales fell again in the year to October 2010 with beer sales in the “on trade” falling off cliff – down 38% from peak levels - as pubs are priced out of the market and close as a result of rents being too high.

The regulatory authorities have done nothing to save tied tenants from market abuse by private equity inspired financial engineering of the property companies that own pubs. They are charging sky high rents to pay interest to offshore bondholders. The Government has done nothing either. Pub tenants are bitter at this inaction. Government talk about binge drinking completely misses the point that supermarkets are the source of much of the drink as beer sales in pubs are 38% down on the peak year of 2002.”

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