Managed restaurant, pub and bar groups saw September total sales increase 42% compared with 2020, according to the latest edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker.
Trading was boosted by growing consumer confidence about safety and spending, good weather in many areas and ongoing staycations.
The tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, showed that total sales were 8% higher than in pre-Covid times.
It also marks the second consecutive month of year-on-year increases, with restaurants and pubs. Bars were again the best performing segment of all, following the easing of restrictions on the late-night sector in July.
However, there was a clear gap in performance between London, where sales dropped 1% compared with September 2019, and the rest of the country, where they were up 12%.
Karl Chessell, director at CGA, said: “These figures demonstrate the resilience of managed restaurants, pubs and bars in the face of strong headwinds, and show consumers’ appetite for eating and drinking out remains high. It’s especially pleasing to see revitalised sales for bars after enduring restricted trading for so long.
“However, difficulties for London and a 10% shortfall in rolling 12-month sales are reminders that we are not yet out of the woods. Many businesses remain under severe pressure from operational issues and debts, and they deserve targeted and sustained government support to sustain their recovery.”
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “Consumer demand is robust but many businesses remain vulnerable with staff shortages, utility cost inflation and supply-chain disruption continuing to act as significant barriers to survival, let alone growth.
“There is a clear need for further targeted support from Rishi Sunak in his autumn Budget Statement to help operators gear up for the all-important festive trading season.”