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On-trade sales drop 15% in week before ‘warning’

Published:  20 March, 2020

On-trade sales declined 15% in the week up to 15 March, before the Prime Minister’s warning that the public should avoid going to pubs, clubs and social venues because of the growing coronavirus (Covid-19) threat.

The decline was driven by restaurants where sales were down 21%, followed by bars (-14%) and pubs (-12%), according to CGA’s first weekly Coffer Peach Business Tracker updates released today. 

“Public concern about the virus was already taking its toll on the out-of-home market even before Boris Johnson’s intervention on Monday. We can only expect the figures to worsen this week,” said Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA, which produces the Tracker in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.

“We also know that London has been hit much harder than other parts of the country, even before the spate of closures that have followed the official advice to stay at home and avoid pubs, bars and restaurants,” he added.

The weekly update follows the release by CGA of the results of its snap consumer survey that suggested 58% of adults between 18 and 65, and who usually went out to pubs, restaurants and bars, would heed the advice and stay away.

The Coffer Peach Tracker collects and analyses performance data from 57 operating groups, which between them operate 10,000 sites.

For the period of the coronavirus emergency, CGA is supporting the market by publishing weekly trading data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, backed up by the results of regular snap consumer surveys.

“In these uncertain and unprecedented times, it is vital that the market receives the most up-to-date and accurate data on which to base the crucial business decisions that companies will need to take – and that the industry collectively, through its trade body UKHospitality, is able to make the strongest case possible to the government, and the country at large, for sector support,” said Tate. 

In the past week, there has been a steady flow of on-trade closure announcement across independents and groups alike. 

Yesterday the Prime Minister confirmed that there are no timelines or plans in place to enforce restaurants, bars or pubs to close as long as the advice given by the government is followed by the public.