Like-for-like sales remain flat amid market turbulence, ‘not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels’: Like-for-like sales at Britain’s top managed pub, bar and restaurant groups remained flat in July against pre-covid levels, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The month’s figures were bolstered by the Women’s European Championship tournament and there were periods of unusually hot weather, but those behind the tracker warned it was “not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels”. The results from the tracker – produced by CGA by NielsenIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK – represents a drop in like-for-like sales following the strongest month of like-for-like growth this year in June, and given high levels of inflation since 2019, sales are significantly behind pre-pandemic levels in real terms. Restaurants were the strongest performing of the tracker’s three hospitality segments in July, with like-for-like sales up 1.3% versus three years ago. Managed groups’ dine-in only sales were down 8.0% suggesting performance for the segment was in part supported by consumers opting for deliveries. Pubs continued to perform reasonably well with like-for-like sales growth down 0.6%, while bars’ fared worse with their like-for-like sales dropping 1.7%. Trading in London continues to struggle, with like-for-like sales falling 2%, compared with a decline of 1% in June and a flat performance in May. Beyond the M25, like-for-like sales were up 0.7% as ongoing rail strikes continued to significantly reduce footfall into central London. Overall like-for-likes are flat compared with 4.7% growth in June and in decline by 3.3% when sales from deliveries and takeaways are removed from this metric. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “A flat rate of like-for-like sales reflects the slow but steady trajectory of the past few months.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “Flat sales on 2019 numbers in the face of rampant inflationary pressure on every front may appear catastrophic but these number show the steady progress hospitality is making. Those that survive may well thrive but for operators these improvements need to continue. 2019 is the benchmark for now but it is not realistic for businesses to survive at these levels.” Extract from Propel 2022

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