Chain pubs and restaurants groups have made a robust start to post-lockdown trading in England, according to the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker.

Like-for-like sales in the week from Monday 12 April to Sunday 18 April were down 25% on the equivalent period two years ago, despite a ban on indoor service.

READ: Pubs and restaurants enjoy ‘encouraging’ weekend but less than a quarter reopened

The figures also faced a strong comparative week in April 2019 that included Easter.

Sales in drink-led pubs were down by 11% and by 22% in pub restaurants.

The restaurant segment recorded a 34% drop, while sales were weakest of all in bars, at 37% down.

However, total sales plunged 57% compared to 2019 when considering that the majority of venues hasn’t opened yet.

Only 39% of venues were offering on-site dining and drinking during the week, while some other venues were operating for takeaways and deliveries.

Trading capacity was higher in the drink-led pubs and restaurants and lower among pub restaurants and bars.

“Pubs benefited from the widespread sunshine and the eagerness of consumers to drink out again after so long at home. With the weather set fair and consumers reassured about the safety of outdoor hospitality, we can expect the positive start to eating and drinking out to continue,” said Karl Chessell, a business unit director at CGA.

“However, it’s important to remember that managed groups have so far been unable to open well over half of their pubs, restaurants and bars in England, and none at all in Scotland and Wales, and some consumers remain cautious about going out. Total sales will be far off pre-pandemic levels for some time to come, and businesses will need support from local and central government as they embark on the long road to recovery.”

The Coffer CGA Business Tracker collected sales figures directly from 47 out of the 60 companies participating, which include Fuller Smith & Turner (LON:FSTA), Mitchells & Butlers (LON:MAB), Revolution Bars (LON:RBG), The Restaurant Group (LON:RTN), Various Eateries (LON:VARE) and Whitbread (LON:WTB).

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