In the first full week since operators were able to serve guests indoors since November 2020, hospitality sales were up 9% compared to the same week in 2019. However, these figures paint a picture of mixed fortunes for the industry, with a significant bounce in food sales and the continued collapse in drinks revenue.
Food sales were up nearly 30% on the same week in 2019, representing significant demand for out of home dining. While there was pent up demand for eating out, remaining restrictions prohibit vertical and late-night drinking, resulting in the continued decline of drink sales, down 7% on 2019 levels.
While there was an overall bounce in like for like performance in the U.K., sites in London were level with the same week in 2019, with all the growth driven by sites outside the capital.
For the first time since hospitality re-opened in April, the majority of sites in the U.K. are trading at above 2019, even if many are only marginally so. Last week, only 19% of sites traded at 90%
or less than their 2019 levels. This is in contrast with two weeks ago, when two thirds of operators were trading at below 90% of 2019.
The significance of being able to trade indoors is highlighted when looking at the difference between last weeks sales and the week prior, when it was outside only. Sales were up 83% last week compared to the last week before operators could serve guest inside and 95% up when only looking at sites outside of London.
S4labour’s Chief Customer Officer, Sam Wignell added, “life is coming back to the sector and we are buoyed by the green shoots, but we are concerned for our customers who are so heavily impacted by the restrictions. It is critical we do not delay the freeing up of our pubs and night-time venues from social distancing measures that are preventing them from trading profitably”.