CoronavirusPubs and BarsRestaurants

Restrictions drive October pub and restaurant sales into reverse

The roll-out of more regional Covid restrictions further depressed sales in Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups in October, according to the latest data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

The tracker, which is produced by CGA in partnership with RSM and The Coffer Group, found that 83% of group-owned sites were open, down from 88% in September, with total sales across the whole managed sector down 33.9% on the same month last year.

It added this is a “clear deterioration” from September when sales were 20.3% below 2019 levels and August when they were just 12.2% down.

All parts of the market performed worse than in September. Like-for-like sales in those businesses trading were 28.9% below October last year, compared to a 14.7% fall in September.

Drink-led pubs saw total sales down 37.6% and like-for-likes down 35.3% on October last year. Food-led pubs and pub restaurants fared a little better, but still performed markedly worse than in September, with total sales down 28.9% and like-for-likes down 27.8%.

Across all managed pubs, food sales were down 24.5% with drink sales dropping 37.6% on the same time last year.

The tracker revealed that restaurant groups performed the best, helped by the cut in VAT on food and delivery sales, but still saw total sales down 29.6%, and like-for-likes 19.5% below October 2019.

Delivery accounted for 12.3% of sales among restaurant groups over the month, up from 10.4% in September and the pre-lockdown level of 5.9% in February.

Karl Chessell, director of CGA, said: “Drink-led pubs and bars have been particularly badly hit, and with England now in full-lockdown, you can only wonder how may will re-emerge in their current state, how many will have to revamp their trading styles, including switching their emphasis to food?

“What’s crystal clear is that even before total lockdown in England, the imposition of Tier 2 and 3 restrictions across large swathes of northern England, as well as the tough restrictions in Scotland and Wales, had a massive negative impact on sales performance.”

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