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On-trade trading at near 70% of pre-Covid norms

Published:  24 July, 2020

Managed pub, bar and restaurant groups in England have reported improving sales in the second week after shut-down was lifted, boosted by the reopening of more sites, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker data.

Although levels remain well below pre-Covid norms, with like-for-like sales for the week beginning 13 July down 31.6% on the same week last year, this was a better performance than the 39.8% drop recorded in the first week back. 

Overall, total sales across the managed pub, bar and restaurant market were up 40.6% on week one trading.

Trading at approaching 70% of pre-Covid norms after just two weeks should be seen as “a solid performance”, in the light of consumer caution about going out to eat and drink again after lockdown, said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, which produces the Tracker in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.  

“The steady improvement on the first week back is also encouraging, and operators will hope to maintain that momentum as more sites open their doors. Providing the public with reassurance that it’s safe to go out and that they will also have a good time is going to be crucial,” he added.

A total of 60% of group-operated sites were open for eating and drinking inside, up from the 55% trading during the first week after restrictions were lifted.

Restaurants saw the biggest shift, with like-for-likes down 26.9%, compared to 40% down in the first week. Restaurant groups have generally taken a more cautious approach to reopening, still with only 24% of sites open for business, compared to 17% in week one.

Pub groups have generally been more ambitious in their reopening strategies, with 74% of sites open in week two compared to 70% the week before. Pubs that were open over the week saw sales down 32.4% on the same week in 2019, compared to 39.3% down the week before.

Bars that were open saw sales down 41.3%, compared to 42.9% in week one – and only a few more bars opened for business in week two, with the total up from 42% to 44%.

CGA is reporting trading progress via the Tracker on a weekly basis as the market continues to recover and more sites reopen.

Earlier this week, CGA research revealed that the Covid-led fresh emphasis on reservations is hitting the beleaguered on-trade with a wave a ‘no shows’ recorded since the reopening of the industry.