Hospitality sees best year in three but lags behind pre-Pandemic levels

18th January 2023 | Jack Oliver

Pubs, bars, and restaurants celebrated their best December trading in three years, data from the Coffer CGA Business Tracker has revealed, but sales in real terms remain below pre-COVID levels.

The data revealed that like-for-like (LfL) sales in December 2022 were 15% ahead of 2021 levels, when trading was hampered by the widespread omicron variant of COVID-19.

Despite this, sales were only 2% higher than 2019 levels, and when adjusted for double-digit inflation, trading was significantly behind pre-Pandemic rates.

Christmas was a particularly strong period of trading for pubs, which saw an increase in LFL sales of 19% compared to 2021, as concerns about COVID reduced and the World Cup drew more people into their locals.

Restaurants saw a more modest rise, at 9.1%, while sales in bars were up 11.9%.

London saw a more dramatic increase in hospitality sales, with the capital seeing an increase of 22.8% compared to 12.9% in the rest of the country.

The data is produced by CGA by NielsenIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK.

Karl Chessell, director of hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NielsenIQ, said: “After two bleak Decembers, solid Christmas trading helped many pub, bar and restaurant groups to end 2022 on a high. However, it is clear that sales remain well behind pre-COVID levels in real terms, and fragile consumer confidence and rail strikes made for tough trading conditions.”

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM UK, added: “The headwinds facing the leisure and hospitality sector show little immediate signs of abating as consumer budgets are tightened further whilst the cost of energy, borrowing and labour remain elevated.”


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