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Tue 15th Feb 2022 - Managed groups’ sales up 3% in January on pre-covid levels
Managed groups’ sales up 3% in January on pre-covid levels, restaurants strongest performing segment: Rising consumer confidence about safety and the easing of covid-19 restrictions helped Britain’s managed pub, bar, and restaurant groups to a modest increase in sales in January, the Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The latest edition of the Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, shows groups’ total sales in the first month of 2022 were 3% higher than in January 2019. It represents a solid recovery from December, when heavy covid-19 measures were in place and sales fell 11% below the levels of 2019. Restaurants were the strongest performing segment of the market in January, recording 4% growth on January 2019, while pubs were up 2%. However, bars saw sales slip 3%, as the requirement for vaccination passes and lingering concerns about crowded venues dented late-night visits. Continuing the pattern of recent months, trading was significantly weaker in London than elsewhere in Britain. Sales beyond the M25 were up by 6% on January 2019, but they dipped 8% within it, with office workers and tourists slow to return to the capital. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “After a bleak December for managed groups, January brought a reasonable revival. Growth for restaurants was particularly encouraging, and the challenging London and late-night markets should hopefully pick up as people return to offices and covid-19 restrictions wind down. However, it’s important to note that sales growth remains below inflation. With some businesses vulnerable after a tough end to 2021, and consumers facing mounting costs of living, hospitality’s road to recovery still has a long way to run.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “As working habits return closer to normal, we expect to see eating and drinking out to rebound steadily. London and other city centres are seeing very good numbers. There is cautious optimism for the sector.”

Maray to make Manchester debut this summer: Liverpool-based Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar concept Maray will make its Manchester debut this summer. The company, founded in 2014 by James Bates, Tom White and Dom Jones, will open the venue at Bruntwood Works’ Union building in Brazennose Street. It will Maray’s fourth and largest site to date, adding to the three in Liverpool. The concept was originally inspired by the owners' experiences in the Le Marais district of Paris – a vibrant arrondissement famed as a culinary melting pot of Middle Eastern flavours and stand out cocktail bars. Dishes on the Liverpool menus include Disco Cauliflower, served whole and doused in chermoula, harissa, tahini, and yoghurt, and sprinkled with pomegranate, almonds and fresh herbs. There is also buttermilk fried chicken with harissa and pickles and a selection of mezze and small plates. Bates said: “Opening a restaurant in Manchester has long been an ambition of ours and we have combed the four corners of the city to find somewhere we felt was just right. We’re excited to get going at Union, we love the area and feel like we’re going to be right in the middle of it all, in a city with a huge reputation for loving restaurants, nights out and a good drink!”

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