Food sales continued to decline last week after the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and new restrictions on gatherings—but good weather helped to keep sales of drinks steady.
CGA’s Volume Pool of 7,000 managed outlets shows that daily food sales were up by 2.4% on Monday (14 September) but down between 8% and 22% from last Tuesday to Sunday (15 to 20 September). Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw the biggest deficits, extending the recent trend of some consumers switching their trips to eat out earlier in the week.
The latest edition of CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker meanwhile shows the value of drinks sales in the week to last Saturday (19 September) was 24% down on the equivalent week in 2019—but that figure was only two percentage points lower than the previous seven days. Pubs’ drinks sales were 19% down, but the shortfall for restaurants was twice as high at 38%—their worst week since before the launch of Eat Out to Help Out.
As with food, comparative drinks sales were better early in the week. They ran 8% ahead of 2019 on Monday before tailing off towards the weekend. Warm weather helped to make cider (down 19%) the best performing category of the week, just ahead of beer (down 23%), soft drinks (22%) and wine (23%). Spirits (down 31%) continue to struggle for sales after lockdown.
After a very welcome injection from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, food sales have clearly gone into reverse in September,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s Director of Client Services. “The extra restrictions on trading, including 10pm curfews, will undoubtedly hit consumers’ trips to eat and drink out in the next few weeks, and the sector faces a big challenge to preserve guests’ optimism about safety and spending over the autumn.”
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