Sales 'wipe out' for wet-led pubs

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

How much have wet-led pubs lost during coronavirus?

Related tags Wet-led pubs Cga Coronavirus Drinks

Wet-led pubs saw sales all but wiped out during November, data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker shows.

Managed pub and restaurant groups lost up to 90% of their wet sales during England's second lockdown in November, while tougher trading conditions in Scotland and Wales led to a similar story.

The stat, although shocking, is unlikely to be a surprise to those in the industry.

The data covers sales from 48 managed pub and restaurant groups and shows drink-led managed pubs dropped 88.8% of sales in November, when compared with last year, while bars saw sales slump by 90.2% for the same period.

The data covers sales for 48 managed pub and restaurant groups, wet-led venues suffered the hardest blow with sales down 88.8% for November when compared with last year, while bar operators dropped 90.2% of sales.

Tap into deliveries and takeaway

Restaurant groups faired a little better, having the ability to tap into deliveries and takeaways, yet sales still slumped by 65.9% year-on-year.

Total sales for food-led pubs, however, dipped by 85% and across the managed eating and drinking out segment sales were 79% down on November 2019.

Karl Chessell, director of CGA, which is owns the Coffer Group and RSM, said: "November was a wipe out for the sector, and came on the back of difficult trading in both September and October as the rollout of more regional Covid-19 restrictions depressed sales."

Food-led businesses did see a sales boost as a result of the taxpayer-funded Eat Out To Help Out initiative, but since that ended trading became difficult again, Chessell added.

"Total sales for the sector were 21% below 2019 levels in September and 33.9% down in October before hitting the buffer last month," Chessell said when referencing Eat Out To Help Out.

"With half of the country still in effective lockdown in tier 3, and severe limits on trading in the other half in tier 2, it is hard to see the sector finding much to celebrate in the run up to Christmas, always the market's most important sales period."

Slim prospects

Prospects for a loosening of the trading restrictions and a reasonable bounce back looked slim, explained Trevor Watson, executive director of valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons. 

"Operators must resign themselves to very difficult conditions for the next few months, with the restrictions on household mixing and the need for substantial meals doing immeasurable harm to wet-led trade, which is the heart and soul of so many communities," he said, before relaying hope that the coronavirus vaccine rollout could soon see politicians change policies.

RSM head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman said: “It’s difficult to put into words the impact of November’s national lockdown when so many hospitality businesses are looking for a silver lining to one of the worst years on record.

"With growing unrest within the Tory party, it’s clear the Government is becoming more divided when it comes to the stricter measures within tiers."

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