Pubs and restaurants trade solidly post-lockdown - survey
Britain's pubs and restaurants made a solid start to post-lockdown trading in England after they were allowed to serve customers outdoors, a survey indicated.
Like-for-like sales in the week to Sunday 18 April were 24% lower than two years earlier despite being limited to al fresco trading and being up against a strong comparator week, the Coffer CGA business tracker showed.
Pubs performed better than restaurants after both groups of businesses were allowed to partially reopen from 12 April, the survey showed. Like-for-like sales at managed drink-led pubs fell 11% year on year and 22% at pub restaurants. Group-run restaurant sales fell 34% and bar sales dropped 37%.
Most pubs and restaurants stayed closed during the week and total sales were down 57% from two years earlier. Premises without outdoor space are scheduled to reopen on 17 May.
“While sales are well down on what we would expect in a normal April, managed groups are returning well after months of closure,” Karl Chessell, business unit director at consultant CGA, said. “Pubs benefited from the widespread sunshine and the eagerness of consumers to drink out again after so long at home. With the weather set fair and consumers reassured about the safety of outdoor hospitality, we can expect the positive start to eating and drinking out to continue."
Pubs and restaurants got a further boost on Monday when it was reported the government had shelved plans to require customers to prove they were at low risk of having the virus before entering premises. Chessell said with some consumers cautious and the outlook uncertain pubs and restaurants would need extended government support to get back on their feet.