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Our Research – January Sees Sharp Sales Decline

Posted by - Last updated: Monday January 15th 2018
2018 is now two weeks old. January, typically the hospitality industry’s quietest month, is half gone, and the impact to sales for many venues has been dramatic.
Trading Style  Trend from Dec (Nov)
Late Night -60.8% (-28.2%)
Hotels -40.6% (-21.1%)
Food-Led Pubs -35.5% (-9.9%)
Restaurants -32.8% (-14.7%)
Wet-Led Pubs -32.4% (-21.3%)

Taking data from our S4Labour software, we analysed trading patterns across hundreds of sites and saw a sharp decline in revenue this month.

Sites across all industry sectors have experienced a significant fall in sales between December’s average trading (excluding the week containing Christmas Day) and January to date. 

Venues specialising in late night trade have seen the greatest drop, with total revenues falling by 60.8%. Perhaps surprisingly given the ongoing pressure the sector faces, wet-led pubs suffered the smallest decrease in sales, faring marginally better than restaurants and food-oriented pub operations, though still experiencing a 32.4% decline.

December’s festive season guarantees increased footfall and revenue for the vast majority of hospitality sites. This means the decline of sales into a barren January is particularly pronounced, but analysis of January trade against November’s average also reveals a stark fall. 

Again, late night operators were the worst hit, seeing a 28.2% reduction against November’s levels. Wet-led pubs and hotels also experienced a decline of over 20%, while restaurants and food-led pubs saw declines of 14.7% and 9.9% respectively. 

Empty tables are now a familiar sight for many

This data highlights how difficult trading in the early months of the year can be for all hospitality operators, and without truly effective management, many businesses fail. 

A critical way to mitigate reduced sales is through effective labour scheduling. Labour is typically the largest expense to any operator, so a reduction here can be key to ensuring overall business health against a backdrop of reduced sales. 

Through analysing hourly sales data and upcoming sales forecasts, S4Labour allows managers to identify times when they are likely to be overstaffed, and can therefore reduce their labour spend without compromising service levels. 

It also allows its users to recognise periods of understaffing, which will be associated with costly missed sales opportunities and a compromised customer experience. Correcting these will drive valuable repeat custom and promote long-term success. 

Many S4Labour clients save in excess of £10,000 per site every year, which can be instrumental in ensuring sites continue to thrive through bleak early-year sales. 

Click here to find out how much your business could save with S4Labour? Or get in touch today to request a full demonstration.

Alec Vještica

A hospitality professional who combines an analytical mind with energy and frontline experience in his approach, Alec worked in managed houses for companies including Greene King and Samuel Smith's before joining Catton in 2016. He is passionate about the industry and always enjoys meeting operators across all sectors.

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