Food and DrinkNews

Tier System Further Blow To Food And Drinks Sales In High Alert Areas

CGA figures reveal that year-on-year sales have been halved in middle-tier areas of England, and cut by nearly two thirds in top-grade regions

Pubs, bars and restaurants in areas that are in the upper tiers of the government’s new COVID alert system have suffered an immediate drop in sales, CGA’s latest data shows.

Businesses in the ‘Very High’ alert tier in England—where pubs and bars can only remain open if they serve substantial meals, and people cannot meet with anyone outside their household—saw their daily sales drop between 60% and 62% year-on-year from last Thursday to Saturday (15 to 17 October). This represents a 26% fall on sales compared with the previous Saturday, driven primarily by drinks sales, which fell 43% on the week before.

While restrictions are slightly looser in the ‘High’ tier, businesses in these areas also saw a significant drop in trading, with sales down between 46% and 54% from Thursday to Saturday.

Licensed premises in the first ‘Medium’ tier fared better after the introduction of the new system, though their sales were still down between 22% and 28% year-on-year between Thursday and Saturday.

“These figures lay bare the instant and seismic impact of the new tiered system on hospitality,” says CGA group chief executive Phil Tate. “The loss of nearly two thirds of daily sales in top-tier areas like Liverpool is catastrophic for local operators, and with Greater Manchester now set to join them there is a lot more hardship to come. It is also alarming to see a sharp drop-off in second-tier areas, where businesses are battling relentless challenges without financial support. Urgent government help is needed if businesses and jobs are to be sustained through this rapid downturn in sales.”

CGA’s data indicates a particularly steep drop in drinks sales in top-tier areas, where alcohol can only be served with substantial meals. Businesses in these areas saw drinks sales fall by 73% year-on-year last Saturday, compared to a 59% fall in second-tier regions and a 31% drop in all other places. Having already been impacted by the 10pm curfew, the spirits category has seen the sharpest fall in sales, which were down by 83% in ‘Very High’ areas.