First week of indoor service sees spending up on 2019 levels

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Spending growth: there was a 28% increase in spending in pubs in the week 17 May - 23 May compared to the same week in 2019 (image: AnnaStills/Getty)
Spending growth: there was a 28% increase in spending in pubs in the week 17 May - 23 May compared to the same week in 2019 (image: AnnaStills/Getty)

Related tags Pubs coronavirus Data Cga lockdown Legislation Food

Spending in UK pubs spiked 28% on 2019 trading levels for the first week of indoor trading, fresh data has revealed.

Consumers were keen to get back indoors, transaction data from Fable has revealed, with a 28% growth in spend in the week 17 May to 23 May, compared to the same week in 2019.

In the week before indoor service returned on Monday 17 May, spending in pubs was down 27% on the same week in 2019, Fable’s data stated.

The data comprises hundreds of venues across all UK regions and comes as pub bosses are calling on the Government to lift remaining Covid-19 measures hampering trade.

Pent up demand

Fable analysts said pent up demand from consumers had been frustrated by rain and wind in the past month, making outdoor trading difficult. 

Over the five week period where pubs were allowed to reopen their beer gardens, spending was down an average of 45% in pubs compared to the equivalent period (12 April to 16 May) in 2019. 

Restaurants fared slightly better from the al fresco dining set-up under step three of the lockdown roadmap with spending down 42% on 2019 figures.

Only a third (32.9%) of Britain’s licensed premises were able to trade in April, CGA’s Market Recovery Monitor​ with AlixPartners suggested, meaning last month meant a grand reopening for the majority of sites.

Transaction data also found that spending in pubs was down 94% on 2019 levels during the tier system and third lockdown (1 January - 11 April) with many operators launching takeaway meal offers.

Reunion meals

Sales across Britain’s hospitality businesses were up by a quarter on pre-pandemic levels for the first day of indoor service on Monday 17 May, CGA data suggested. 

Reopened managed venues’ average sales were 24.9% higher than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019, CGA found. 

What’s more, food sales jumped 29.6% as diners enjoyed meeting up for meals indoors while wet sales saw a boost of 21.2%. 

In their first week of reopening, operators reported a mixed bag of trading experiences, with some describing how they had to turn away customers because of social distancing rules.

Pint sales

Others told The Morning Advertiser​ they had experienced a "strangely quiet" weekday trade and were looking forward to better weather encouraging punters back to the pub for a pint.

Ahead of a sunny bank holiday weekend, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) warned last week that pubs would be forced to serve 21m fewer pints than normal because of ongoing restrictions.

Pubs missed out on an estimated £80m in revenue from pint sales last weekend​, down 34% on revenue for pre-pandemic spring bank holiday weekends, the BBPA said.

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