Easter holiday boosts hospitality sales

20 April, 2023

According to the latest snapshot data from Barclays, restaurants experienced a 3.09% surge in transaction volumes over the extended Easter weekend in comparison to the previous year.

The findings of a recent study by Barclays, which analysed the credit and debit card transactions across the country, revealed that the hospitality and leisure industries experienced a 2.7% rise in total sales during the four-day period between 7th and 10th April 2023.

The study attributes this growth to the warmer weather, which enticed people to come out and spend more.

Marc Pettican, Head of Barclaycard Payment, commented:

"After a period of reduced non-essential spending, it's encouraging to see so many Brits make the most of their Easter celebrations this year.

Consumer spending surged across Hospitality and Leisure as people enjoyed the sunshine across much of the UK this weekend and headed out to restaurants, camping and caravan sites, and sport centres."

These figures follow the consumer spending report from 11th April by Barclays, which indicated a decline of 5.6% in restaurant sales during March, with 62% of consumers attempting to reduce their spending on dining out at full-service establishments.

Pettican added:

"While our research shows that half of consumers are consciously trying to cut back on discretionary spending overall, this uplift in transactions demonstrates that many Brits are still keen to spend their time off outdoors, socialising and eating out with friends and family.

This will be welcome news for UK businesses amid the rising cost of living, and as they look forward to another boost in trade over the Coronation weekend and upcoming May bank holidays."

Moreover, according to the latest Drinks Recovery Tracker report from CGA by NIQ's, the Easter bank holiday weekend contributed to a year-on-year growth of over 10% in on-premise drinks sales.

During the seven day period ending on 8th April, managed venues recorded an average sales increase of 18% compared to the corresponding week in 2022, according to the tracker.

However, CGA noted that the comparison is somewhat distorted due to the earlier timing of Easter this year, and figures are expected to stabilise in the coming weeks.

Jonathan Jones, CGA Managing Director UK and Ireland, said:

"These figures indicate some solid trading over the first half of the Easter holidays, but with the very important caveat that comparisons are affected by the way key dates fall.

Damp weather will have made trading conditions tougher during certains parts of the week, and consistent, real-terms sales growth is still some way off."

In addition, trade saw significant growth during the long Easter weekend, with Thursday and Good Friday experiencing a 52% and 28% increase respectively.

The start of school holidays and good weather earlier in the week also contributed to growth, with Monday and Tuesday seeing a 34% and 30% increase. However, sales on Saturday decreased by 3% year-on-year, possibly due to consumers spreading out their activities over the long weekend.

On top of that, as stated by the previous CGA tracker, sales in the seven days to Saturday 25th March were down 3%, while the latest tracker showed a significant increase in sales during the seven days to Saturday 8th April, with cider, beer, wine, and soft drinks seeing growth ranging from 19% to 39%.

Spirits sales only saw a 2% increase. Draught beer and cider sales also surpassed 2022 figures over the Easter weekend, with 64.2 million pints consumed in on-trade establishments, according to data from Oxford Partnership.

Jones added:

"April and May are big months of the year for the on premise, and operators and suppliers will hope for the topsy-turvy conditions to settle into warm weather to bring people out to drink."

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