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Tue 16th Aug 2022 - Like-for-like sales remain flat amid market turbulence
Like-for-like sales remain flat amid market turbulence, ‘not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels’: Like-for-like sales at Britain’s top managed pub, bar and restaurant groups remained flat in July against pre-covid levels, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The month’s figures were bolstered by the Women’s European Championship tournament and there were periods of unusually hot weather, but those behind the tracker warned it was “not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels”. The results from the tracker – produced by CGA by NielsenIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK – represents a drop in like-for-like sales following the strongest month of like-for-like growth this year in June, and given high levels of inflation since 2019, sales are significantly behind pre-pandemic levels in real terms. Restaurants were the strongest performing of the tracker's three hospitality segments in July, with like-for-like sales up 1.3% versus three years ago. Managed groups’ dine-in only sales were down 8.0% suggesting performance for the segment was in part supported by consumers opting for deliveries. Pubs continued to perform reasonably well with like-for-like sales growth down 0.6%, while bars’ fared worse with their like-for-like sales dropping 1.7%. Trading in London continues to struggle, with like-for-like sales falling 2%, compared with a decline of 1% in June and a flat performance in May. Beyond the M25, like-for-like sales were up 0.7% as ongoing rail strikes continued to significantly reduce footfall into central London. Overall like-for-likes are flat compared with 4.7% growth in June and in decline by 3.3% when sales from deliveries and takeaways are removed from this metric. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “A flat rate of like-for-like sales reflects the slow but steady trajectory of the past few months.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “Flat sales on 2019 numbers in the face of rampant inflationary pressure on every front may appear catastrophic but these number show the steady progress hospitality is making. Those that survive may well thrive but for operators these improvements need to continue. 2019 is the benchmark for now but it is not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels.”

BBPA demands business leaders’ summit to help save pubs and winder industry venues: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has written to Conservative Party leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak demanding a summit with business leaders to save pubs and other hospitality venues from closure should they become prime minister. In the face of rising energy bills, staff shortages and a cost-of-living crisis, the trade association has called for a roundtable of business leaders “at the earliest opportunity” to ensure there is a long-term strategy in place for hospitality. It comes shortly after leaders from across hospitality and the night-time industries, including the BBPA, called on the government to take immediate action on rising energy bills by introducing an energy cap for small businesses. Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “Our sector hangs in the balance. Rising energy bills are crippling pubs across the country, with only one in three turning a profit, and that figure only likely to worsen as winter approaches. The situation is dire, and what we are experiencing now is arguably worse than the pandemic because we are receiving absolutely no relief on out-of-control energy costs. We need urgent action from the government to save businesses and jobs in communities across the country, but we also need a long-term plan to ensure the health of the hospitality sector so it can continue to support the economic and social fabric of our country.” The letter warns government support provided during the pandemic will count for nothing if support is not also provided “at this acutely difficult moment in time”. It states: “It is no exaggeration to say the future of thousands of pub and hospitality businesses hangs in the balance, and the longer that no action is taken, the more significant the threat of permanent failure becomes.” It also points out 40% of those employed across the whole sector are 16 to 24-year-olds, “providing a vital source of employment for young people and an early introduction to the world of work”.

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