,UK

Restaurants, pubs see sales above pre-COVID-19 levels in August

Consumer confidence is building despite COVID continuing to take a toll on trading.

Growing consumer confidence and staycations helped Britain’s pub, restaurant and bar groups to lift sales above pre-COVID-19 levels in August, the new edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker revealed.
 
Total sales were 5% ahead of August 2019, the first month of year-on-year growth since hospitality reopened from mid-April. Total sales were also up 35% in August 2020, a time when the majority of venues were open after Britain’s first lockdown and the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme was being implemented.
 
Managed restaurant groups outperformed the market for the fourth straight month, with total sales up by 7% in August 2019. Pubs recorded 3% growth, with pub restaurants (up 6%) faring better than drink-led sites (up 1%). Bars also enjoyed a surge in sales following the easing of restrictions on the late-night sector, finishing the month being 21% up than in 2019.
 
The Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, said 
businesses benefited from a first full month of restriction-free trading in August, as well as the easing of safety concerns among diners and drinkers.

Widespread ‘staycations’ during the school holidays also contributed to a strong August for regions beyond London, with sales outside the M25 up by 9%.

COVID continues to take a toll on groups’ trading, with the Tracker seeing 12-month sales to the end of August 2021 being down by 15% on the 12 months to August 2020—a period which included the UK’s first national lockdown.
 
A total of 57 companies provided data to the latest edition of the Tracker.

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