Operators see September sales slump

By James Halliwell

- Last updated on GMT

Operators see September sales slump curfew Coronavirus restrictions

Related tags: Coffer peach business tracker, Restaurant, Coronavirus, Curfew

Sales slumped in September after the combination of the withdrawal of Eat Out to Help Out and the introduction of the 10pm curfew, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Wet-led pubs were hit hardest, with sales down 22.7% and like-for-likes down 21.1%.

Restaurant groups suffered a sales slump of 19.6%, but like-for-likes were down just 6.7% below September 2019, thanks to 72% of group-owned restaurant sites trading during the month.

Bar groups, which had 79% of their sites trading, had the worst of the month, with like-for-like sales down 37.1% and total sales down 42.7%.

Delivery accounted for 10.4% of sales, up from 8.8% in August and the pre-lockdown level of 5.9% in February.

At the end of September, underlying annual like-for-like sales for the whole market were down 23.9% on the previous 12 months, with total sales down 35.3%.

Regionally, the negative impact on London by the drop in footfall was revealed by the stats, with total sales across managed pubs, bars and restaurants inside the M25 were down a hefty 32.1% on September last year, with collective like-for-like sales in those sites open down 24.2%. In contrast, outside the M25 the market saw like-for-like sales down 12.3% and total sales down 16.7%.

“The situation is looking increasingly challenging for drink-focused operations – and in September all parts of the market were in negative territory,” said CGA director Karl Chessell.

"Across the managed pub market as a whole, food sales were down 9% over the month, while drink sales were down 21.9% on last September.

Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The recent Eat Out to Help Out scheme, followed by the curfew and now the increasingly prevalent local lockdown restrictions, means there are clearly no significant conclusions to be drawn from short-term trading trends.

"The latest announcement that London is to join Manchester and enter Tier 2 is catastrophic. It is difficult to see how many restaurants and pubs in these city centre locations will be able to stay open.

”Neighbourhood areas will also suffer but not to the same extent. A ‘Tier 3’ status with increased government support would be preferable for such businesses.”

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