July saw flat sales for managed venues

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Rail disruption: the ongoing train strikes have impacted like-for-like sales particularly in London (image: Getty/ Cultura/Monty Rakusen)
Rail disruption: the ongoing train strikes have impacted like-for-like sales particularly in London (image: Getty/ Cultura/Monty Rakusen)

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Like-for-like (LFL) sales at managed pubs dropping by 0.6% in July 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker​, which is produced by CGA by NielsenIQ with The Coffer Group and RSM UK, found restaurants performed best over the period with LFLs up 1.3% compared to three years ago.

Managed groups’ dine in sales were down 8%, suggesting performance was supported by deliveries. However, bars fared worse with a 1.7% drop in LFLs.

When broken down into regions, sales in London fell by 2% compared to a 1% drop in June and flat results in May.

Outside of the M25, sales were 0.7% up as ongoing rail disruption due to strikes continued to impact footfall into central London.

Slow but steady

Overall LFLs were flat against 4.7% growth in June when there were bank holidays and the Platinum Jubilee and down by 3.3% when takeaways and deliveries are taken out of the equation.

CGA hospitality operators and food director EMEA Karl Chessell said: “A flat rate of L4L sales reflects the slow but steady trajectory of the past few months.

“Operators are acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead during the second half of 2022. Inflation, rising costs, supply chain issues and staffing challenges are impacting businesses.

“But the hospitality sector continues to demonstrate extraordinary resilience and remains an important channel for investment long term.”

Recruitment toughest obstacle

While the reported figures may appear catastrophic, the numbers show the steady progress the sector is making, according to Coffer Corporate Leisure managing director Mark Sheehan.

He added: “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, London is improving steadily. While utilities are a concern, recruitment remains the toughest obstacle for most.”

Disruption on the railways and last month’s heatwave were partially to blame for the results but overall, the picture is stark, highlighted RSM UK.

“Sales are significantly behind pre-pandemic levels and that can only spell huge challenges ahead for the leisure and hospitality sector, RSM head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman said.

“But it could all be for nothing if measures are not reintroduced at pace in the coming weeks and months.

“On taking up office, the new Prime Minister will have an in-tray full of critical issues to address but as storm clouds gather at an alarming rate, further Government support is needed for a sector that otherwise faces an autumn of discontent and potentially more challenges than Covid lockdowns.”

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