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Off-trade sales bubble as more couples spend Valentine's at home

Published:  21 February, 2017

Cash savvy lovers opted for a night in this Valentine's Day in favour of splashing out on inflated restaurant prices, with both off-trade wine and beer value sales bubbling.

Valentine's Day wine sales were up 5% this year compared to 14 February 2016, while beer sales rose by more than 10%, according to research by Paymentsense - based on all payments that go through the merchant services provider's card machines.

The retail growth was in detriment to restaurants, which saw an 11% drop in overall food and drink sales, according to the research.

Part of the on-trade decline was down to Valentine's Day falling on a Tuesday this year, compared to a Sunday the previous year, but it also reflected "quite a few people" deciding to get a nice bottle of wine or beer and order food in - takeaway sales were up 25%, said Paymentsense.

"Consumers trying to spend more wisely are increasingly turning their backs on the special, and often more expensive, menus designed by many restaurants for Valentine's Day," said head of marketing, Guy Moreve.

Lower service levels due to outlets being "busier than usual" were also likely to have impacted on love-struck couples deciding to stay in, he added.

In the week running up to the romantic celebration, combined wine, spirit and beer retail sales were up nearly 20%, according to Paymentsense.

In stark contrast, sales of those tipples were down 21% across drink wholesalers.

It was however important to remember that this was "not a trend" with the data only covering 'Valentine's week', Moreve pointed out.

"Restaurant and bar businesses are still flourishing in general and we are expecting to see a positive impact on drinks wholesale too," he added.