Sales slump by 1.7% thanks to April showers

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Damp squib: rain has been cited as a factor for a sales slump in April (credit: Getty/E4C)
Damp squib: rain has been cited as a factor for a sales slump in April (credit: Getty/E4C)
Hospitality groups saw sales drop 1.7% year-on-year in April 2024 after wet weather hit the UK.

The downturn is the first year-on-year drop in monthly sales since September 2022 and a sharp contrast with March when groups achieved 5.2% year-on-year growth when there was drier weather and an early Easter.

Last month faced tough comparatives with April 2023, which included the full Easter holiday, according to the latest CGA RSM Hospitality Business Tracker.

Slightly weaker sales may also suggest some consumers remain hesitant about their spending despite an easing of inflation in recent months.

The tracker, which is produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with RSM UK, shows the impact of the weather on pubs, where sales were 1.5% down as consumers stayed away from beer gardens and terraces.

Bars hit hardest

Restaurants, which sometimes benefit from wetter weather, achieved modest like-for-like growth of 1.2% while bars were hit hardest with sales dropping 15.1% below the levels of April 2023.

Hospitality groups performed better in London than elsewhere, the tracker showed. April sales inside the M25 were 0.3% ahead of last year but down by 2.2% beyond the M25.

CGA by NIQ director Karl Chessell said: “After 18 consecutive months of year-on-year growth, the hospitality sector had a challenging April.

“It’s a reminder of the very close correlation between the weather and sales, and a sign that some consumers have been saving their eating and drinking out for special occasions and holidays like Easter.

Medium to long-term outlook remains good

“Brighter weather in May should help to encourage more people out to eat and drink, and the medium to long term outlook for hospitality remains good but it’s clear businesses and consumers alike continue to face some severe cost pressures.”

RSM UK head of leisure and hospitality Saxon Moseley added: “April’s poor results will undoubtably have been impacted by the early Easter break, which largely fell into the previous month but poor weather and sluggish consumer confidence will also have contributed to the first like for like reduction in sales since 2022.

“While there are reasons to be optimistic later in the year with consumer confidence set to rise on the back of wages rising in real terms and interest rates beginning to fall, April’s disappointing results will do little to lift spirits after what was already a lacklustre first quarter for many.

“The industry desperately needs a prolonged spell of dry, warm weather as a prelude to a long summer of sporting events, bringing supporters together in their local pubs and bars.”

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