Hospitality’s recovery hit as cost crisis deepens
The result from May’s Tracker—produced by CGA by NielsenIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK—follows like-for-like growth of between 2% and 4% from February to April. However, given high levels of inflation since 2019, sales are significantly behind pre-pandemic levels in real terms.
Restaurants recorded growth of 2% in May, while pubs were 1% down and bars were flat, the Tracker shows.
Trading in London improved in May, with like-for-like sales flat within the M25 as more workers and tourists returned to the capital. Sales outside the M25, which were well ahead of London for the first four months of the year, were also flat—a sign of a tightening squeeze on consumers’ spending in many regions.
The Tracker also highlights operators’ current reliance on delivery for sales growth. Dine-in only sales across all managed groups were 3% lower than in May 2019, while the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker—based on a different cohort of businesses—has shown that delivery sales have been four times higher than pre-COVID-19 levels in recent months.
Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “Managed restaurants, pubs and bars have shown impressive resilience since the start of the pandemic, and their appeal remains strong. However, rising costs in many areas are clearly tightening the squeeze on both operators’ profit margins and consumers’ discretionary spending. These all highlight that a number of challenges are likely to remain for the rest of 2022.”
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