Pubs raise a glass to “Dry January” drop-outs

New payment figures also find Londoners drink MORE in January

24 Jan 2015

LONDON – 24th January 2015 – Landlords need not fear the increasing popularity of “Dry January”, as new figures show spending in pubs and bars is back to normal before the month is out.

Data from Worldpay, the UK’s leading payment processing company, shows sales in pubs and bars during the first week of January last year were 18%* lower than average, while off-licence retailers saw sales shrink by 27%**. However these figures steadily rose throughout the month, with pubs reporting sales in line with the yearly average by the last week of January, sales from off-licences were only 14% below the yearly average by month end.

The data suggests a pattern of steadily-increasing broken resolutions, as drinkers give up on self-enforced austerity and abstinence. Nevertheless, spending patterns varied widely across the UK, with some areas notably more abstemious than others.

In the South West, pub sales were 19% lower than average throughout January, and were 27% lower in the first week of the month. In the West Midlands, pub sales in January peaked at 9% below the yearly average.

By contrast, sales in London stayed strong, with the amount spent in pubs and bars recovering to just 2% below the yearly average by the second week in January. Takings in London pubs and bars actually exceeded the yearly average by 17% in the final week of January. Sales from off-licences were also the strongest in the country, with January sales just 11% below the yearly average. Only the North East came close to meeting London’s spending in off-licences.

Dave Hobday, Managing Director, Worldpay UK, said: “The steady rise in pub and off-licence sales throughout January cannot be accounted for by tonic water and tomato juice alone. Bristolians wear the title of UK abstinence capital with pride, but the cold weather, the dark nights and the lure of a night out are clearly too much for many of us to bear in January. Indeed, our data suggests Dry January goes entirely out the window by the time the first pay-cheque of the year hits bank accounts.”

*Figures refer to UK pub and bar sales in January 2014, and are compared to the average across the sector for that year.
** Figures refer to UK off-licence sales in January 2014, and are compared to the average across the sector for that year.


For more information please contact:
Emily Lahey, Senior Communications Manager, Worldpay. T +44 (0) 203 664 5663.
Tom Parker, Golin. T +44 (0) 207 067 0288

About the data
Figures quoted are according to Worldpay transactional data from January 2014 for payments made in the UK. In 2013, Worldpay processed 44% of all UK card transactions (based on market data provided by the UK Payments Administration).

About Worldpay
Worldpay is one of the world’s leading independent payment processing companies. The Worldpay Group has three operating divisions: ecommerce, Worldpay US and Worldpay UK.

Worldpay UK, the UK’s leading payment processor, helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers – by accepting credit and debit card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move. In 2013 Worldpay handled 44% of all card payments made in Britain.
Across the Worldpay Group, we process over 8.4 billion transactions every year, and our online payment options cater for over 200 payment types in 115 currencies.

24 Jan 2015