On April 11th, Barclays dropped its latest consumer spending trends report
, claiming that 62% of consumers are attempting to cut down on eating out in full-service establishments to save money as the cost-of-living crisis bites. The British Retail Consortium (BRC)
also released data that showed a total UK retail sales increase of 5.1% in March compared to last year, claiming that this was helped by people looking to entertain at home instead of eating out.
These reports are the latest in what is now a procession of statistical and survey-driven doom and gloom for UK hospitality amid the cost-of-living crisis - but there are some industry names now pushing back, disagreeing with the blanket-style conclusions derived from such reports in parts of the mainstream press
Peter Martin, founder and executive director of the premium hospitality network, Peach 20/20
, is one of these names, recently taking to his LinkedIn
to reject the idea that because retail sales are up, out-of-home sales should be down, branding such conclusions as "lazy reporting".
"Let’s get one thing straight," Peter said. "Consumers are still going out to eat in pubs and restaurants, no matter what this story from BBC News
"Hard data from CGA by NIQ’s Coffer CGA Tracker
shows that spend on eating and drinking out-of-home is consistently up on last year and as good as, if not beating, pre-pandemic levels - even with the cost of living crisis.
"To suggest that just because retail sales are up OOH sales should be down is just plain wrong - and lazy reporting from the BBC and others. This is also a reminder that the retail market, and especially the big grocery multiples, have for a long time been in a PR war with hospitality to make it seem normal to stay in rather than go out.
"Another point is that in this asymmetric market, the cost-of-living crisis isn’t affecting everyone equally. There’s about a third of the public that have been largely unaffected and have carried on much as before - including going out."