Managed pub and restaurant groups recorded a 26% slump in like-for-like sales during April compared to the same month in 2019, according to newly published figures.
The data in the Coffer CGA Business Tracker covers three full weeks of outside-only trading in England and business during a briefer period in Scotland and Wales. Generally good weather and strong consumer confidence in the first fortnight boosted trading, while low temperatures and rain damped sales later in the month.
More extensive outside space helped pubs outperform restaurants, with pub sales during April down 21% on the figure achieved two years earlier alongside a 30% drop for restaurants and a 39% decline in business for bars.
Restaurants, however, performed better on total sales with strong delivery and takeaway services boosting revenue. Comparing April 2021 and April 2019, restaurants were down 51% and pubs down 67%.
Karl Chessell, business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: "Managed groups made the best they could of trading opportunities in April, amid some tough restrictions and the vagaries of the British spring weather.
"They have been very resourceful in their use of limited space. But the drop in sales of more than half over the last 12 months is a reminder of just how hard the industry has been hit by lockdowns and restrictions. While consumers are eager to get back to hospitality, it is clearly going to be a long and uneven road to recovery, and the sector will need sustained support from government if it is to help reignite the UK economy over the rest of 2021."
The Business Tracker was compiled by collating sales figures from 48 of the UK's leading bar, pub and casual dining restaurants.