Resumption of trading falls short for pubs and restaurants
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.”