Hospitality sales down over 10% on first day of indoor trading.

Sales from Monday, the first day operators were allowed to serve guests inside, were down 10.3%. The research undertaken by S4labour, analysed hospitality sales from Monday, comparing them with the same Monday in 2019, representing a normal Monday’s trade levels. The decline in sales was driven by a 24% collapse in drink sales, where restrictions continue to prohibit vertical drinking. Food sales were up 5% compared to the same Monday in 2019, indicating the majority of pent-up demand has dissipated, with outside service being re-introduced in April.

With the restrictions now allowing inside service to resume, the number of sites open jumped to 95%, up from 50% of sites open the week before. The high proportion of the industry now open means that like-for-like sales figures are particularly relevant, the sales data is no longer representative of the small portion of the sector that was able to feasibly open in the previous restricted conditions. Such weak sales performance demonstrates just how difficult it will be for hospitality to be profitable until all restrictions are lifted. This gives additional significance, as it shows the sustained damage the industry would suffer, should further restrictions not be relaxed on the 21st of June.

S4labour’s Chief Product Officer, Richard Hartley, commented “The restrictions that were lifted this week disproportionately disadvantaged wet-led sites, as vertical drinking remains prohibited, while restaurants are able to deliver a service that is a bit closer to ‘normal’. It is worrying, but not a surprise, to see drink sales so weak, but it is disappointing that, given the bounce of previous reopening, food sales were only a few percent up on a normal Monday in 2019. It is clear that the easing of restrictions are a baby step forward, but we are still a long way from being able to trade anything like profitably.

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