Consumers maintain healthy appetite for hospitality despite cost-of-living crisis: Consumer demand for Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants has stayed robust during months of rising household bills, new research from CGA by NIQ reveals. Its monthly Cost of Living Pulse shows two in five (40%) consumers went out to eat and drink at least weekly in April 2023. This figure is unchanged from March and down by only two percentage points from six months ago. More than nine in ten (94%) consumers went out at least once in April – one percentage point more than in March, and two points more than the level of six months earlier. Just under a quarter (24%) of consumers said they went out more frequently than usual in April – just one percentage point down from six months ago. While 43% said they went out less often than they usually would, this figure is unchanged from October 2022. CGA said this group is dominated by consumers who were already lower-frequency users of the on-trade while the important core of regular visitors have maintained or increased their trips out. Meanwhile, two in five (39%) consumers said they would prioritise visits to pubs, bars and restaurants if their disposable income were to be cut further – a significantly higher number than those who would protect their spending in areas including clothing (28%), home improvements (27%) or international holidays (27%). The survey results are in line with CGA sales data with Britain’s leading managed groups having reported like-for-like growth of 6.9% in April 2023 – a seventh consecutive month of year-on-year increases. However, with growth well below the current high rate of inflation, sales remain down in real terms.
Rekom confirms autumn launch for second UK Proud Mary bar, in Swansea: Rekom UK, the Peter Marks-led nightclub operator, has confirmed the second UK bar for its Proud Mary concept will open this autumn, in Swansea. Rekom had initially hoped to debut Proud Mary in the UK in in the former Idols nightclub in Swansea’s Wind Street last year. Instead, it opened its first site 30 miles away in Cardiff, in the former Yard Bar in St Mary’s Street, in October 2022. The 600-capacity bar will “combine the fun and festivities” of a German bier hall and create up to 60 jobs. It will be the fourth Nordic bar Rekom has brought to the UK, with Heidi’s Bier Bar first opening in Cardiff and Birmingham. Two more Proud Mary bars and another Heidi’s are scheduled for launch later this year. The company said the new bar also reflects its “cluster strategy”, which is focused on “the development of key venue hubs in the UK’s major towns and cities”. Russell Quelch, executive director of Rekom UK, said: “We are delighted to be bringing our second Proud Mary to Swansea and are confident it will prove to be a similar hit to Cardiff. It’s such a great concept that people of all ages enjoy. We will be working around the clock to open as soon as we can this autumn. Proud Mary and Heidi’s have exceeded our expectations and we can’t wait to open more in the coming months and years. Part of their success is down to the unpretentious fun they bring – we know times are tough, but you can’t fail to have a good time once you cross the threshold of either a Proud Mary or Heidi’s.”