Pubs, bars, and restaurants are recording positive sales in Britain’s major cities—but high inflation is making real-terms growth very difficult.
The latest ‘Top Cities’ report from hospitality research experts CGA by NielsenIQ and leading connectivity solutions provider Wireless Social shows combined sales in Britain’s 10 most populous cities in the four weeks to 22 October 2022 were 4% higher than in the same period in 2019. Seven of the 10 cities recorded growth.
The total number is in line with figures recorded by the separate Coffer CGA Business Tracker in recent weeks. However, with Britain’s inflation rate now exceeding 10%, sales are well below pre-COVID comparatives in real terms. Logins are also still significantly short of the levels of 2019.
The ’Top Cities’ report combines sales data from CGA and device log-in statistics from Wireless Social to provide a ‘vibrancy’ ranking of the top 10 cities. Manchester heads the list of top cities, ahead of Birmingham, which makes the top two for the fourth time in a row. Both cities recorded double-digit sales growth in the latest four-week period.
At the other end of the rankings, London is bottom for the third period in a row, with both sales and device check-ins still short of pre-COVID levels—though both metrics are now moving closer to 2019’s numbers. See below for the full list of cities.
CGA client director Chris Jeffrey said, “Our latest report confirms that public demand for eating and drinking out is stable. It highlights hospitality’s huge contribution to the vibrancy of city centres.
“However, with consumers’ spending under pressure from rising costs in energy, food, mortgages and more, the post-COVID recovery will come under severe strain in the months ahead. Businesses have a crucial role to play in Britain’s economic growth, but they need targeted support to help them through these unprecedented challenges.”
Julian Ross, founder and CEO of Wireless Social added, “It’s hugely encouraging to see growth across the sector, in terms of sales and footfall, in a number of the UK’s biggest cities. However, this growth will count for very little if the economic environment continues to be as volatile as it is currently.
“With the World Cup and a restriction-free Christmas on the horizon, hospitality businesses can expect a boom in short-term sales. But it’s the weeks and months that follow that require attention, and businesses are going to need targeted support to continue to grow and develop on the other side.”
The series of ‘Top Cities: Vibrancy Ranking’ reports is based on a powerful combination of sales data from CGA’s Managed Volume Pool of more than 8,000 pubs, bars and restaurants, and Wireless Social’s guest data gathered from more than one million log-ins. It provides the most accurate assessment yet of the vibrancy of Britain’s key city markets for eating and drinking out.