Re­sump­tion of trad­ing falls short for pubs and restau­rants

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By

PUBS and restau­rants missed out on a ma­jor sales boost dur­ing their re­open­ing week­end as trad­ing al­most halved from a year ear­lier, fig­ures sug­gest.

Sales across hos­pi­tal­ity, leisure and en­ter­tain­ment were only 7pc higher than the pre­vi­ous week­end when the vast ma­jor­ity of sites were shut, ac­cord­ing to spend­ing data from Bar­clay­card. They were down by 45pc on the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

Trad­ing at pubs and bars al­most quadru­pled from the pre­vi­ous week­end from very low lev­els. Restau­rants – many more of which have con­tin­ued to of­fer de­liv­ery and take­away ser­vices dur­ing lock­down – were up by a much more mod­est 13pc.

So­cial dis­tanc­ing re­stric­tions have forced busi­nesses to open with a strictly lim­ited ca­pac­ity, while con­tin­ued fears about the spread of coro­n­avirus mean many ner­vous con­sumers are un­will­ing to re­turn to the streets.

Rob Cameron, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Bar­clay­card Pay­ments, said: “While this week­end cer­tainly gave us rea­sons to cel­e­brate, we’re not out of the woods yet.

“We know that our clients are do­ing their ut­most to in­cor­po­rate so­cial dis­tanc­ing mea­sures into their op­er­a­tions in or­der to max­imise rev­enue, while also keep­ing their cus­tomers safe.”

Pre­mier Inn owner Whit­bread said yes­ter­day that it is bet­ting on a stay­ca­tion sum­mer and will re­open the vast ma­jor­ity of sites by the end of July.

The com­pany warned that sales were down 80pc in the 13 weeks to May 28 com­pared with a year ear­lier fol­low­ing the clo­sure of its ho­tels, pubs and restau­rants in lock­down.

A to­tal of 270 of the com­pany’s UK ho­tels and 24 restau­rants have now re­opened, along with all 19 of its Ger­man sites.

Ali­son Brittain, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said the busi­ness is fi­nan­cially se­cure af­ter rais­ing £1bn in a rights is­sue last month. She said: “This will mean that we are in a po­si­tion of strength to con­tinue to in­vest, in­crease mar­ket share and over time cre­ate sig­nif­i­cant value for share­hold­ers.”

How­ever, Ms Brittain warned that de­mand is still sub­dued for book­ings in London and other ma­jor cities.

She said: “It is still very early days and there­fore too early to draw any con­clu­sions from our book­ing tra­jec­tory, es­pe­cially as there has been volatil­ity in ho­tel per­for­mance in other coun­tries that re­laxed con­trols be­fore the UK.

“How­ever, in tra­di­tional re­gional tourist des­ti­na­tions, we are see­ing good de­mand for the sum­mer months.”

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