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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 17th May 2022 - Managed groups’ like-for-like sales up 2% in April on pre-pandemic levels but cost pressures stunt growth, major challenges ‘yet to come’
Managed groups’ like-for-like sales up 2% in April on pre-pandemic levels but cost pressures stunt growth, major challenges ‘yet to come’: Britain’s leading managed restaurant, pub and bar groups recorded like-for-like sales growth of 2% in April 2022, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker revealed. Restaurants performed the strongest of the tracker’s three sectors, with like-for-like sales growth of 5% from April 2019. Bars were close behind at 4%, while pubs were flat. The comparison with April 2019 means the tracker – produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM – is in growth for the third month in a row, following increases of 3% and 4% in February and March. However, with compound inflation since early 2019 far exceeding 2%, managed groups’ real-terms sales are still well below pre-covid levels. Continuing the pattern seen since hospitality reopened after lockdown one year ago, trading in London lagged well behind the rest of the country in April. The tracker shows managed groups’ like-for-like sales inside the M25 were down by 2% on 2019 while regions beyond the M25 recorded growth of 3%. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food EMEA at CGA, said: “A third successive month of like-for-like sales growth shows managed restaurants, pubs and bars continue to build back after a very tough two years. However, any modest rises are being swallowed up by high inflation, and the tracker’s dip from March to April suggests soaring prices might be starting to squeeze consumers’ spending. The worst of covid-19 may be behind us now, but cost issues are going to put intense pressure on hospitality’s sales and margins for the foreseeable future.” David Coffer, chairman at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “The major challenges for hospitality are yet to come. Pressure to repay commercial banking debt and statutory debt including rates, national insurance contributions, PAYE and VAT will be unsurmountable for many businesses, many of whom may disappear. Our sector, and indeed many others, are in desperate need of further governmental support. The allure of London is being severely weakened by cost of visits and traffic access. Hopefully an increasing tourist population will alleviate some of the problem.”


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