The UK’s pubs, restaurants and bars suffered an almost 60 per cent drop in sales last month as a lockdown was implemented to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Managed pubs reported a 57.8 per cent sales drop, restaurant sales plunged 56.2 per cent and bars suffered a 60 per cent dive in sales.
London was hardest hit by the drop in footfall at the beginning of March and the full lockdown at the end of the month, as sales plunged 60.4 per cent. In the rest of the UK, sales fell 56.8 per cent.
By the end of the month the eating and drinking out sector had fallen into a year on year decline, down 4.1 per cent on the previous 12 months, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Delivery accounted for 7.4 per cent of sales among the casual dining groups, up from 5.5 per cent in January, as consumers order food to their homes during the coronavirus lockdown.
“With shutdown wiping out April sales, apart from a small amount of delivery income, and May likely to be the same, the devastating effect on the market is self-evident.
“Even if there is an early easing of restrictions, which is far from certain, reopening of the market will almost certainly be phased and gradual. We are looking at a substantial loss of revenue right across the sector,” CGA director Karl Chessell said.
Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure added: “The re-opening of outlets to full capacity will take months and the sector desperately needs ongoing support.
“Whilst an earlier release from lockdown appears at first sight to be a good thing; consumers will be anxious about socialising and trading levels will be subdued. The future in terms of consumer behaviour is very uncertain making any form of planning for the future very difficult.”