Key Festive Dates Suffer Significant Sales Slump, following a Difficult December for Hospitality

Key Festive Dates Suffer Significant Sales Slump, following a Difficult December for Hospitality

Hospitality sales for December were down 12% compared to December 2019.

Both drink and food sales experienced declines, with sales down 11.5% and 13% respectively.

London sites’ sales were hit the hardest as like-for-likes fell by 23% on 2019 levels. Non-London sites also saw downfalls, however by a lesser figure of 10%.

As for specific dates, London’s sales dropped on all occasions on 2019 levels:

  • Christmas Eve sales down 38%, with drink-led sales down 40%
  • Christmas Day sales down 23.5%
  • Boxing Day sales down 25%
  • New Year’s Eve sales down 11.5%

Non-London sites, however, were much less affected on specific holiday occasions — Christmas Eve saw food driven like-for-likes increase by 3.5% while Christmas Day’s overall sales were down 11.5% on 2019 for sites outside of the capital.

Richard Hartley, S4labour’s Chief Innovation Officer, said: “December has been an incredibly difficult month for the sector yet again. As we enter further into the new year, it is important that no more restrictions are imposed on the sector.”

Christmas Hospitality Sales Take a Concerning Decline

Christmas Hospitality Sales Take a Concerning Decline

The Christmas period saw hospitality sales decline by 30% when compared to 2019 levels.

Sites within London experienced a 50% decrease in sales on 2019 levels, whilst sites outside of the Capital saw their like-for-likes drop by a lesser 26%.

Week-on-week sales were also negative, with sales falling by 18% compared to the previous week.

These figures are from businesses that had at least a 14-day trading period over Christmas — meaning closed sites’ sales during Christmas are excluded. If closed sites were to be included, the sales figures would reveal even larger declines.

Richard Hartley, Chief Innovation Officer at S4labour, said: “The festive period is critical for the sector, and these figures spell concern on current consumer confidence. With this, it is vital no further restrictions are put in place as many businesses are struggling to survive.”

Hospitality in London Suffers 30% Decline in Sales

Hospitality in London Suffers 30% Decline in Sales

As Christmas uncertainty begins to continue, data from S4labour shows sites within London are down 30% on last week’s sales.

The week-on-week decline was experienced by the whole sector too, however non-London sites saw their sales drop by a smaller 6.5% on the previous week.

Sector like-for-likes were also in decline, with the Capital again suffering as sales fell by 16% when comparing the same week with 2019.

Richard Hartley, Chief Product Officer for S4labour, said: “The announcement of Plan B and rumours of increased restrictions have clearly damaged consumer confidence heavily, and with Christmas fast approaching, the industry has a challenging time ahead”.

Hospitality Sales Experience Decline Amidst Plan B Announcement

Hospitality Sales Experience Decline Amidst Plan B Announcement

Following the Plan B announcement from the Prime Minister, data from S4labour shows weekly hospitality sales have dropped by 9% when compared to 2019 levels.

The like-for-like decline was felt by both London and non-London sites, with the Capital experiencing a 16% drop in sales last week on 2019 levels. Non-London sites saw a smaller 7% fall in weekly sales.

The Chief Product Officer of S4labour, Richard Hartley, commented: “Even though there is not a noticeable change in hospitality sales as a result of Plan B, the announcement will certainly not help the situation—likely affecting corporate-led venues’ sales the hardest. Speaking to customers, operators have experienced hundreds and hundreds of lost covers and cancellations. As a result, hopefully the sector sees resilient consumer behaviour as well as no further restrictions.”

Covid Hits Hospitality Sales for £89 billion 

Covid Hits Hospitality Sales for £89 billion 

Covid Hits Hospitality for £89 billion 

As the grim anniversary of the beginning of the first lockdown approaches, analysis from S4labour shows that the hospitality industry lost just over £89 billion in revenue through the full year since March 23rd 2020, when the hospitality industry was first instructed to close. This is equivalent to 68.9% of annual revenue, representing an average decline of half a £million per site across the U.K. 

The data shows that while there were huge declines for both wet and dry led sites, it was drink led sites that were particularly hard hit, slipping 78.6% in like-for-like revenue compared to food-led venues where the decline was limited to 62.1%.

There was a less marked difference between London and non-London sites, however, it was noticeable that wet-led venues in the capital suffered an 84.4% decline in sales, with little opportunity to offer takeaway or delivery during almost all variation of restrictions.

Scotland fared worse than England, with a 77% loss in revenue, and wet-led pubs in Scotland were the most affected category with an 88% decline like-for-like revenue.

Chief Customer Officer Sam Wignell added, during the last year, hospitality has had its ups but the downs have been significant and scarring for most operators. The figures are starkly clear, we cannot expect the industry to simply emerge on the other side of that loss still afloat and recover, even with pent-up demand.

Hospitality suffers 540,000 jobs in 2020

Hospitality suffers 540,000 jobs in 2020

Hospitality Suffers 540,000 job losses in 2020 and is on the verge of losing a significant amount more.

There are many industries that have suffered throughout 2020, but hospitality has been near uniquely placed at the forefront of every conceivable damage the pandemic and social restrictions could throw at it. That’s not to say that other sectors have not had it hard, but few will have to had to navigate the never ending variations of restrictions and closure hospitality has.

Analysis from S4labour shows that the result has been 539,000 job losses; circa 20% of total hospitality employees, during the full calendar year. By contrast, every other year (we looked back to 2010) has had positive growth of hospitality employees.

Hospitality employment has always had peaks and troughs, however, last year, we can quite clearly see figures align, not with the usual seasonal trends, but with government policy announcements. The first spike in job losses occurs in weeks 11-13, in March 2020 where 91,000 employees were let off in a three-week period, just as the crisis hit and hospitality was shut; government support was not foreseen at this point. There was another spike of job losses that occurred of 42,000 in one week just as the government announced the November restrictions and all but cancelled Christmas.

The only occurrence of a positive new starter rate since March 2020 occurs in the week 3rd August; the start of the EOTHO scheme. However, this was just after two spikes of job losses in July, likely to have been caused by the end of fully supported Furlough, covering NI, holiday pay and pensions.

Trends identified in this research shows clear lack of foresight by the government, as has followed for the whole of this crisis; a lack of clear communication with the industry that accounts for 5% of UK GDP and 10% of UK employment. S4labour demands that hospitality is provided with a roadmap, a clear and concise mission aimed at the opening of hospitality, to prevent another huge round of job losses in the next few weeks, following the announcements on Monday. The lack of foresight and the suggestion of just outside pubs and bars opening, will bring yet another round of job losses to those pubs and bars with no option to serve outside. It simply isn’t enough to say that pubs and bars can only open with very aggressive restrictions, as this does not bring profit that is desperately needed at a time where the industry is run to the ground. Pent up demand and the knowledge that it is safe to go to a socially distances pub cries for pubs to be given a clear opening date on the 22nd Feb when we are to hear whether we sink or swim in the next few months.

Chief Customer Officer Sam Wignell added “It is crystal clear, it is not the viability of these hospitality jobs that is the issue, it is the lack of reasonable communication and clarity. If the government is serious about keeping jobs, when we are on the verge of losing a significant amount more, a clear road map and a stimulus package similar to EOTHO is required.”