Pub, bar and restaurants sales up 25% on pre-pandemic levels after reopening

The surge in sales comes after drinkers and diners are able to use indoor hospitality for the first time this year

Chantal da Silva
Thursday 20 May 2021 17:48 BST
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Sales at UK restaurants, pubs and bars were up by a quarter compared to pre-pandemic levels as indoor dining made a return following a lifting of Covid restrictions.

According to data from research consultancy CGA, average sales at reopening restaurants were 24.9 per cent higher on Monday, 17 May, than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019.

Food sales were up 29.6 per cent in England and Wales, while drink sales were up by 21.2 per cent, according to data shared with the Press Association.

The surge in sales came as customers were able to eat inside restaurants, pubs and bars again for the first time this year.

CGA’s market recovery monitor suggested that only around a third (32.9 per cent) of Britain’s licensed establishments were able to trade in April.

That means the majority of restaurants were unable to reopen until this week.

In a statement, Jonny Jones, CGA’s managing director for the UK and Ireland said: “Consumers have been waiting a very long time to get back inside restaurants, pubs and bars, and Monday’s trading was a sign of how much Britain’s hospitality industry has been missed.

“Venues still face some tough restrictions, and in the case of late-night bars, nightclubs and venues with limited space, remain closed completely. But after a very difficult start to 2021, Monday was a very welcome step on the road map to recovery. However, there is still a long way to go, and continued support for the sector will be necessary,” Mr Jones said.

UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the numbers “are a welcome reminder that the sector is much-loved by its customers and Monday was the first time many venues had opened since December – five long, hard months with no revenue.

“As we’ve seen previously, we often see a reopening bounce in sales, followed by a dip, so we hope these positive figures continue in the coming weeks.

“It is critical that government restores consumer confidence in hospitality and restores our ability to trade profitably by removing all restrictions on June 21 as planned – let’s not forget that all of these businesses which are open are still making a loss until they do.”

Additional reporting by PA

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