BWS sales growth in the off-trade continued unabated in early July despite the reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants.

The on-trade was back in business from July 4 but the take-up for reopening was patchy with many venues choosing to stay closed or phase-in opening over the following week.

Nielsen figures showed the off-trade continued to make year-on-year gains in the week to July 11.

Sales were 26% ahead of the same week in 2019, exactly the same level of growth recorded in the previous week.

There was a slight shift towards wine and away from beer, but beer remained one of the fastest growing categories, as it has been since lockdown began.

Beer sales were up 29% in the week to July 11, a slight fall from +33% the week before.

Wine growth increased from +23% to +25% and there was a big leap in sparkling wine sales, from +10% in the week to July 4 to +22% the following week.

Spirits sales were up 29% in the week to July 11, cider was on +17% and Champagne was on +6%.

For the whole of the Covid-19 period, measured by Nielsen from February 1 onwards, BWS sales are 25% up on the same period in 2019, with beer (+37%) and cider (+35%) the biggest winners.

Spirits sales are up 22%, wine 21% and sparkling wine (excluding Champagne) 11%.

Champagne remains off the pace overall, down 8% since the crisis began.

Gemma Cooper, Nielsen senior commercial business partner, said: “The grocery channel saw slight acceleration in growth, +23% against +21% the previous week, while impulse growth slowed down, +36% against +42% the previous week, signalling a shift in overall shopper behaviour.

“Beer and cider, although still in growth, noted the slowest increase rate since April.”