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Summer staycations boost hospitality sector in July

Sales for Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups sprung back to close to pre-COVID levels during July boosted by staycations, new research shows.

The Market Porter pub and Borough Market at London Bridge: Staycations boost hospitality sector in July

The latest edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, showed sales for managed venues were down by just 6% compared with 2019.

Staycations and domestic tourism benefitted the sector, with venues outside of London seeing the most positive effect. Sales outside of the M25 were down by just 2% compared with 2019 figures, compared to a drop of 15% for venues inside the M25, as holiday-goers venture out of the city.

Restaurants saw the greatest improvement, down just 2% from the same month in 2019. Pubs saw less of an uptick, with drink-led pubs and restaurant pubs down 9% and 8% respectively.

Bars benefitted from the easing of restrictions on the late-night sector, with rates down by just 3% on 2019.

Saxon Moseley, leisure and hospitality partner at RSM said, “With the arrival of ‘Freedom Day’ and a successful Euro football campaign, the eating and drinking out market enjoyed a further resurgence in July with like for like sales closing in on pre-pandemic levels. Given the disruption of staff availability and delivery of supplies caused by the “pingdemic”, this represents a real achievement for the sector.

“As Covid-19 case numbers stabilise, the number of fully-vaccinated adults rises and with a thriving staycation market keeping holidaymakers’ leisure spending in the UK, there is optimism moving into August of a return to trading levels not seen since 2019.”

The sector is sadly not out of the woods yet, as the Business Tracker also saw a drop in rolling sales for hospitality venues compared with 2020. Rolling 12-month sales to the end of July 2021 were down by 20% on the previous 12 months to July 2020—a period which included the first and longest national lockdown.

Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “While sales are still some way short of what we would expect at this time of year, July was another steady month of recovery for hospitality. Restaurants are enjoying the release of latent demand for meals out, and the return of nightclubs and late-night bars was a milestone in the journey back to normality for the drinking out sector. Trading conditions remain difficult though, and the 20% drop in rolling sales since July 2020 highlights COVID-19’s heavy toll on the sector and the need for continued support. On top of major operational challenges, it means that not all businesses are out of the woods yet.”

A total of 56 companies provided data for the latest Business Tracker.

Read more on how the hospitality industry is stimulating economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic here.

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