Re­open­ings fail to buoy hos­pi­tal­ity chains

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Coronaviru­s: Focus On The Economy - Han­nah Ut­t­ley By

BRI­TAIN’S big­gest pub and res­tau­rant chains suf­fered a 50pc slump in sales in July as hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses re­opened for the first time after lock­down.

The stark fig­ures came as night­club bosses wrote to cul­ture min­is­ter Oliver Dow­den de­mand­ing clar­ity over when they will be al­lowed to re­open venues, warn­ing that con­tin­ued un­cer­tainty could risk the loss of thou­sands of jobs.

Lon­don firms were hit worst in their first month of re­open­ing, in­dus­try data re­vealed, with sales down 58.3pc on a year ear­lier. Sales fell 48.5pc out­side the M25.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cof­fer Peach Busi­ness Tracker – which col­lated sales from 49 firms in­clud­ing Pizza Ex­press and Waga­mama – bar groups suf­fered the largest sales de­crease among their co­hort, with sales down 63.3pc in July com­pared to a year ear­lier. Pub sales were down 44.7pc and restau­rants recorded a 59.8pc drop.

Drink sales per­formed slightly bet­ter than food in pubs, with drops of 41pc and 48pc re­spec­tively.

Mark Shee­han, man­ag­ing direc­tor of ad­viser Cof­fer Cor­po­rate Leisure, which pro­duces the tracker along­side con­sul­tancy CGA and ac­coun­tant RSM, said: “De­spite the fan­fare over the July 4 re­open­ing date for hos­pi­tal­ity, in re­al­ity trade is re­cov­er­ing slowly.

“The res­tau­rant sec­tor, al­ready un­der se­vere pres­sure pre-Covid has been dec­i­mated by the lock­down.

“The pub sec­tor has proven to be more re­silient as ex­pected and is now bounc­ing back strongly in many ar­eas.”

Mr Shee­han said the Chan­cel­lor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was likely to help sales re­cover in Au­gust, but warned that cen­tral Lon­don was still lag­ging be­hind the rest of the coun­try. HMRC said the sub­sidy pro­gramme – which gives din­ers up to £10 off their meal from Mon­day to Wed­nes­day – was used 10.5m times in its first week.

While vast swathes of the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor have opened back up, night­club venues are among those which re­main shut.

The Gov­ern­ment is still yet to pro­vide a re­open­ing date for the in­dus­try.

Peter Marks, chief ex­ec­u­tive of night­club op­er­a­tor The Deltic Group, said his firm has in­vested heav­ily in en­sur­ing its venues are safe for staff and cus­tomers with con­trolled en­try sys­tems, staff train­ing and im­proved ven­ti­la­tion.

He said: “The club­bing sea­son in the UK tra­di­tion­ally be­gins to get busy in Septem­ber, so we are now less than one month away from a po­ten­tially makeor-break pe­riod.

“We are ready to wel­come cus­tomers back safely straight away, but the Gov­ern­ment is keep­ing us closed.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.