Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups saw sales drop 1% in June 2021 from the same month in 2019, according to the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker.
The tracker showed that sales were “nearly level” on both a total and like-for-like basis with consumer demand particularly strong in restaurants, where total sales were up by 3% in June.
However, pubs recorded a 2% drop, with mixed weather and restrictions dampening any benefit from the Euro 2020 football tournament. Sales were also down by 11% in bars, where social distancing and early closing requirements continue to impact footfall.
June’s performance proved to be a “significant improvement” on May, when total sales were down by 26% on May 2019.
Karl Chessell, director hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “June’s figures are a testament to the enduring appeal of restaurants, pubs and bars, and the resilience of the businesses behind them.
“However, rising costs and limited capacity mean many businesses are still struggling to make a profit, and major challenges including debt burdens and a recruitment crisis are casting a long shadow.”
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “This squeeze in the labour market for a sector that is so heavily dependent on people is likely to dampen sales over the coming months.
“The finances of many operators remain on a knife-edge and the government needs to consider a relaxation of visa barriers for hospitality workers to support the sector’s recovery.”