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‘First-day back’ sales see 25% uplift for bars and restaurants on 17 May

Published:  20 May, 2021

After five weeks of outdoor-only trading, CGA research has revealed a strong start to the week for managed groups as consumers make the most of being able to drink and eat indoors for the first time since December.

In the first figures to be released following the return of indoor service, data from CGA shows that sales for the GB on-trade were officially up by a quarter (24.9%) on Monday 17 May compared to the equivalent Monday in 2019, despite ongoing social distancing restrictions.

This is encouraging news both in terms of confidence and sales for the hospitality industry which has remained largely shuttered until this week.

According to CGA, only a third (32.9%) of Britain’s licensed premises were able to trade in April, as many struggled with a lack of outdoor seating and also poor weather.

Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director, UK & Ireland, said: “Consumers have been waiting a very long time to get back inside restaurants, pubs and bars, and Monday’s trading was a sign of how much Britain’s hospitality industry has been missed. Venues still face some tough restrictions, and in the case of late night bars, nightclubs and venues with limited space, remain closed completely. But after a very difficult start to 2021, Monday was a very welcome step on the roadmap to recovery.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality added that the numbers will be welcome for the two-thirds of businesses which have had to endure “five long, hard months with no revenue”.

However, she said that this could follow a now-familiar pattern of “a reopening bounce in sales, followed by a dip, so we hope these positive figures continue in the coming weeks”.

The CGA data shows that food sales on May 17 jumped 29.6% in England and Wales specifically when compared to the equivalent Monday in 2019. Drinks sales were up by 21.2%.

Now, UKHospitality is calling on government to help restore consumer confidence and the sector’s ability to trade profitably by removing all restrictions on 21 June as planned.

“Let’s not forget that all of these businesses which are open are still making a loss until they do,” Nicholls said.