Tightening restrictions drive sales into reverse across sector

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Tightening restrictions drive sales across sector into reverse

Related tags Coronavirus

The roll-out of tiered regional Coronavirus restrictions further depressed sales in Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups in October, latest data from the CGA Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

With 83% of group-owned sites open, down from 88% in September, total sales across the managed sector were down 33.9% year-on-year; a further fall from September’s sales, which were 20.3% down on 2019.

Like-for-like sales in those businesses trading were 28.9% below October last year, compared to a 14.7% fall in September.

“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,” says CGA director Karl Chessell.

Wet-led pubs saw total sales down 37.6% and like-for-likes down 35.3% on October last year, compared to September where total sales were down 22.7% and like-for-like sales down 21.1%.

Food-led pubs and pub restaurants performed marginally better, with total October 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.

Restaurant groups performed the best, 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.

Unsurprisingly, bar groups fared the worst, with like-for-like sales down 52.6% and total sales down 56.9%.

Regionally, London continued to struggle. Total sales across managed pubs, bars and restaurants inside the M25 were down 39.5%, compared to 32.1% in September, with collective like-for-likes in trading sites down 35.%.

Outside the M25 the market saw like-for-like sales down 26.8% and total sales down 31.9%.

At the end of October, underlying annual like-for-likes for the whole market were down 26.2% on the previous 12 months, with total sales down 37.9%.

“It is impossible to put a positive gloss on such depressing results in the last full month of trading prior to England’s second lockdown,” says head of leisure and hospitality at RSM Paul Newman.

“This week’s news about an imminent vaccine is just the fillip the sector needs as operators turn their focus to the operational challenges of successfully re-opening their businesses on 3 December for the truncated, but ever more crucial, festive trading period.

“I’m amazed at the creativity shown by operators to stay in business during lockdown and I urge consumers to support their local pubs and restaurants over the coming weeks. A whole business eco-system is reliant on their support, from suppliers to operators and landlords.”

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