Restaurant sales

UK pub, bar and restaurant sales hit by inflation and labor shortages

Sales rose 3% at UK-managed restaurant, pub and bar groups in October compared to the same month in 2019, compared to an 8% increase in September

Pubs, bars and restaurants across Britain are under pressure from rising inflation, labor shortages and supply chain constraints as they struggle to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales rose 3% overall at UK-managed restaurant, pub and bar groups in October compared to the same month in 2019, according to the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker.

But post-lockdown demand appears to be waning as October’s rise was less than the 8% sales growth seen in September, with consumers now starting to feel the pain of rising food, drink and beverage costs. ‘energy.

Sales fell 4.5% in the 12 months to the end of October compared to the previous 12 months, CGA said.

October was a slightly better month for pub groups than restaurants, with total sales growth of 3% and 2% respectively, while bars saw the biggest increase with sales up 13% while that the late-night market rally continued.

A shortage of office workers and tourists has impacted London, where sales fell 4% in October compared to 2019. In contrast, sales off the M25 motorway rose 6%.

Karl Chessell, Director of Hotel and Food Operators, EMEA at CGA, said: “Managed groups battled to maintain sales in October, but uneven consumer confidence and a host of external challenges make growth in real terms elusive. .

“Hopes are pinned on a strong Christmas trading period, but the sector needs and deserves continued support in many areas through 2022 to help fuel its recovery.”

Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, praised the strong performance of the bar groups: “The bar and nightlife market in particular is very strong and we see this improvement as sustainable not just in the short term but into 2022 and beyond. Very good operators work well in most places. »

But Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, warned of possible tough times ahead: “The post-lockdown euphoria appears to be fading, with sales growth versus 2019 falling to 3% in October versus 8% in September as consumers begin to feel the impact of rising household bills on discretionary spending,” he said.

“This could mark the start of a long and difficult winter for the sector if this downward trajectory of sales growth continues for the rest of the year.”

Shares of pubs groups JD Wetherspoon Plc (LSE:JDW), Mitchells & Butlers (LSE:MAB) and Fuller Smith & Turner (AIM:FSTA), which fell 28%, 22% and 21% respectively during the past six months, were up slightly at lunchtime Monday.

So did Wagamama Restaurant Group owner PLC (LSE:RTN), down 33% in the past six months, although Franco Manca and Real Greek owner Fulham Shore PLC (AIM:FUL) , which has fallen just 6% over the past half-year, was down 3% on the day.