Sales at pubs, bars and restaurants that were able to reopen on Monday were sharply higher than pre-pandemic levels with consumers keen to have their first drink out in months, new figures show.
Analysis from CGA showed sales at those sites were up by 58.6% compared to the equivalent day in 2019, even though they were limited to serving outdoors amid wintry conditions throughout much of the country.
Drinks sales led the way, climbing by 113.8%, but food sales were down by 11.7%.
CGA estimates that 41,100 licensed premises in Britain, or 38.2% of the total, have outdoor space.
The early data, based on analysis of 1,687 sites, appeared to suggest the hospitality trade has been a bit more successful than retailers in initially attracting customers back after lockdown restrictions were eased on Monday.
Separate figures from Springboard published this week suggested that while visits to shopping destinations more than doubled compared with the previous Monday, footfall was still 16% down on the equivalent day in 2019.
However, debit card data from Lloyds Bank suggested spending on clothes on Monday was helped by the reopening – as it climbed by 157% compared to the previous week.
Lloyds said 72% of the spending – on the day that non-essential retailers reopened – was in store.
Gabby Collins, Lloyds Bank payments director, said: "It’s a really encouraging sign of consumer confidence but we will wait to see how strongly this initial demand will be sustained over the coming weeks."
Both the hospitality and retail sectors are desperate for trade to return following months of lockdowns resulting in billions of pounds in lost sales and hundreds of thousands of job losses across the economy.