The rolling 12-month sales to the end of October 2021 were down by 4.5% on the previous year as businesses “continue to feel the effects of Covid and lockdowns”, the CGA has revealed.
The tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with TheCoffer Group and RSM, revealed that October was a “slightly better month” for pub groups than restaurants, with total sales growth of 3% and 2% respectively.
The tracker also revealed a contrast in trading in London where a shortage of office workers and tourists meant sales were down by 4% on October 2019. However, beyond the M25, they rose by 6%.
Meanwhile, the data shows that total sales were up by 3% on the pre-Covid levels of October 2019 and 64% higher than in October 2020, when trading was subject to severe Covid restrictions.
CGA said bars performed best of all with an increase of 13% as the recovery of the late-night market continued.
However, although October delivered a third consecutive month of 2021-on-2019 increases across all sectors and regions, the rate of growth reportedly dipped from 8% in September.
CGA said this indicates the “resilience” of managed groups who remain under “severe pressure from challenges including rising food, drink and energy costs and distribution and recruitment problems”.
Karl Chessell, director of hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “Managed groups battled hard to sustain sales in October, but patchy consumer confidence and a host of external challenges are making real-terms growth elusive.
“Hopes are pinned on a strong Christmas trading period, but the sector needs and deserves sustained support in many areas well into 2022 to help fuel its recovery.”
Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “The bar and late-night market particularly is very strong and we see this improvement as sustainable not just in the short term but to 2022 and beyond.”
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “Post lock-down euphoria appears to be waning with sales growth compared to 2019 falling to 3% in October vs 8% in September as consumers begin to feel the impact of rising household bills on discretionary spending.
“Sales comparisons to 2019 are also being impacted by acute labour shortages, forcing many hospitality businesses to cut trading hours with operators.”