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CGA report hints at hospitality recovery

Published:  15 November, 2021

New data released by CGA Strategy offers a glimpse of a beleaguered industry in resurgence, with total sales rising in Britain's managed pubs, restaurants and bars.

According to the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker, total sales in the hospitality sector were up 3% on pre-Covid levels in 2019, although on a 12-month rolling basis sales were down 4.5% on the previous 12 months.

The tracker is a collaboration between CGA, The Coffer Group and RSM, collecting data from over 55 major hospitality firms, including the Azzurri Group (Ask Italian, Zizzi), Big Table Group (Bella Italia, Las Iguanas), BrewDog, and Mitchells & Butlers (Harvester, Toby, Miller & Carter, All Bar One).

The tracker found that pubs had outperformed restaurants in October, the former achieving sales growth of 3%, while restaurant venues managed just 2%.

However, the data also uncovered a worrying and growing discrepancy between London and the rest of the UK.

It found that due to the well-publicised staff shortages and decline in tourism numbers, total sales were down by 4%, when compared to October 2019. In regions beyond the M25, they rose by an encouraging 6%.

Andy Dean, EMEA hospitality operator and food director at CGA, said: “Managed groups battled hard to sustain sales in October, but patchy consumer confidence and a host of external challenges are making real-terms growth elusive. Covid has taken a heavy toll on hospitality, and while some businesses have flourished since the end of lockdown, others remain extremely fragile.”

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, also sounded a word of caution.

“Post-lockdown euphoria appears to be waning with sales growth compared to 2019 falling to 3% in October versus 8% in September as consumers begin to feel the impact of rising household bills on discretionary spending,” said Newman.

“Sales comparisons to 2019 are also being impacted by acute labour shortages, forcing many hospitality businesses to cut trading hours with operators, conscious of the need to give their teams a chance to 'recharge their batteries' before the all-important festive trading season kicks in.”