Overall sales across pubs in the first weekend of December were 84% lower than last year, a study by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) reveals.
The trade group which has touted “tighter covid restrictions” as the reason for this slump also revealed that just four in ten pubs opened last weekend, with 53% of operators now expecting to close more venues in the coming weeks.
BBPA is now urging the government to “re-think its approach” to the tier restrictions placed on pubs, or provide them with the “financial support they need” to ensure they survive the winter.
These are the latest figures which highlight the struggle many hospitality businesses face due to Covid-19 trading limitations, just yesterday (10 December), Marston’s reported a loss of £397m in the 53 weeks ended 3 October 2020.
The company’s total revenue fell from £1.17bn in 2019 to £821m this year, as sales were reduced by the 15-week closure of pubs from the end of March.
At the time Ralph Findlay, CEO,of the group said that it had been a “difficult year” for the business and the wider hospitality sector.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “These numbers illustrate the perilous situation our pubs find themselves in this Christmas. The tier restrictions that have been unfairly placed on our pubs are killing them. This must change, or thousands of pubs simply won’t survive.
“How else can the government expect our pubs to survive if they cannot open or operate properly? It is cruel and unfair on hardworking publicans up and down the country who have more than played their part in fighting the virus. Christmas should be a time where we can enjoy one another’s company in the pub round a warm fire and with a fresh pint in hand.”
She added: “Christmas sadly just won’t be the same this year without our pubs being able to open properly. The new restrictions are knocking the stuffing out of our Christmas trade. It truly is madness when you consider cinemas, theatres and sports venues can still open and serve alcohol.
“It’s simple. Either the government reduces these extreme restrictions, so pubs have a fighting chance of survival, or they recognise the damage they are doing to our pubs and provide them with the proper level of grants they need.”