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End of EOHO and 10pm curfew cause sales set-back

Published:  16 October, 2020

On-trade group sales fell back significantly in September after August’s Eat Out To Help Out (EOHO) boost and the introduction of the 10pm curfew, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. 

Total sales across Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups sector were 20.3% down on the same month last year, compared to being down just 12.2% in August.  

Like-for-like sales in those businesses trading were 14.7% below September 2019, having been flat in August.

Drink-led pubs suffered the most, with total sales down 22.7% and like-for-likes down 21.1% on September last year. Restaurant groups performed better, with total sales down 19.6%, but like-for-likes just 6.7% below September 2019.  

“September figures show the massive importance of the Eat Out to Help Out initiative had on both sales and consumers’ willingness to go out during August,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA. 

“They also demonstrate how far the market needs to go to recover to pre-Covid levels – with the new catalogue of restrictions biting nationally and locally making that task even tougher,” he added.   

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

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%. 

Like restaurants, food-led pubs and pub restaurants did better than drink-driven businesses with collective like-for-likes down 10.9% on last September and total sales down 11.9%. For managed pub groups as a whole, total sales were down 17.7% and like-for-likes down 16.4%. 

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%.

“While food sales will become increasingly important in keeping the managed sector afloat, with table-service and the 10pm curfew in force across England and tougher restrictions in other parts of Britain, the situation is looking increasingly challenging for drink-focussed operations – and in September all parts of the market were in negative territory,” said Chessell. 

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%.

A total of 52 companies, with between them 9,373 sites open for business, provided data to the September Tracker. 

Earlier this week, CGA data revealed the number of licensed premises trading across Britain was down by nearly 25,000 on March levels.