July sales down 6% on pre-Covid-19 levels across managed sector

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

July sales down 6% on pre-Covid-19 levels across managed restaurants, pubs and bars

Related tags Cga Managed pubs Restaurant Coronavirus

Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups lifted sales back close to pre-Covid-19 levels in July to continue hospitality’s recovery from the pandemic, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals.

Total sales were just 6% down on the same month two years ago in 2019, according to the Tracker.

Restaurants had a particularly strong month, with sales only 2% below 2019, while drink-led pubs and pub restaurants were down 9% and 8% respectively. Bars benefited from the easing of restrictions on the late-night sector, as sales ended 3% short of 2019.

Managed venues benefited from generally good weather in July and the popularity of ‘staycations’ at the start of the school holidays. Domestic tourism contributed to a much better July for regions beyond London than the capital: sales outside the M25 were down by 2% year-on-year, but within the M25 they dropped 15% as visitor and worker numbers remained low.

July’s solid performance comes despite a host of challenges for hospitality businesses, including widespread staffing shortages relating to recruitment issues and the ‘pingdemic’, supply problems and ongoing caution among some consumers.

The Tracker also shows the lasting impacts of Covid-19 on hospitality, with rolling 12-month sales to the end of July 2021 down by 20% on the previous 12 months to July 2020 — a period which included the country’s first full national lockdown.

"While sales are still some way short of what we would expect at this time of year, July was another steady month of recovery for hospitality," says Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA.

Restaurants are enjoying the release of latent demand for meals out, and the return of nightclubs and late-night bars was a milestone in the journey back to normality for the drinking out sector.

"Trading conditions remain difficult though, and the 20% drop in rolling sales since July 2020 highlights Covid-19’s heavy toll on the sector and the need for continued support. On top of major operational challenges, it means that not all businesses are out of the woods yet.”

Related topics Trends & Reports Casual Dining

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