Tightening restrictions squeezed food and drink sales again last week, with more disruption to pubs and bars looming with the new tiered system.
CGA’s latest Volume Pool data shows that year-on-year food sales were down between 6% and 10% from Monday to Wednesday (5 to 7 October), but then dropped between 24% and 28% from Thursday to Sunday (8 to 11 October). Sales were worse than last week’s on five of the seven days.
Meanwhile drink sales in the seven days to last Saturday (10 October) were down by more than a third (38%) on the same week in 2019, CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker indicates.
The gap between food and drink sales is likely to grow after the introduction of restrictions, which will force the closure of many pubs and bars in Tier 3 areas unless they are operating as restaurants.
Our data shows that eating-out has so far survived the curfew and other restrictions better than drinking-out occasions, and the new tiered system is going to pile even more pressure on drink-led venues,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s director of client services. “Restaurants continue to do an excellent job of communicating safety precautions to guests, and will be hoping to sustain sales at current levels. But pubs and bars in high-alert areas without a substantial food offer are facing a very tough autumn, and operators and suppliers will once again have to be agile in response to yet more challenges.”
CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows that total drink sales were down between 25% and 44% on every day of last week. Continuing the pattern of recent weeks, Monday (down 25%) and Tuesday (down 29%) were the best performing days, and Friday and Saturday (both down 44%) the worst. However, weekend figures are a slight improvement on the previous week—possibly reflecting consumer sentiment that an even more widespread lockdown of hospitality might be looming.
Sales of beer, wine, cider and soft drinks were all down between 30% and 38% across the week, while spirits were cut in half for a second successive week, down 52%.
Footfall data from Wireless Social meanwhile highlights the challenge of getting consumers back out to town and city centres. Footfall in the seven days to last Saturday was 52% down on the weekly average in February—a widening of the deficit from 49% over the previous seven days. It is the first time since early August that footfall has been down by more than 50%.