Pub operators are lining up steep job cuts after the governments 10pm curfew caused drinks sales to plunge by more than a third.
Youngs, which operates around 270 pubs in the south of england, confirmed on thursday that it will have made 500 of its 4,200 staff redundant by the end of october, while fullers, the ftse-listed pub group, said that at least 500 jobs 10 per cent of its workforce were at risk, predominantly in its central london sites.
Clive watson, chief executive of city pub group, warned that the company would be forced to cut a quarter of its 1,000 staff on top of the 100 redundancies that it had already made.
Greene king said it would shut 11 of its 22 loch fyne restaurants putting 180 jobs at risk, though it hoped to move the staff to other sites.
Figures seen by the financial times from the industry tracker cga showing sales levels following the enforcement of a 10pm curfew on the sector since last week reveal a significant drop in trade.
Despite a slight uptick in year-on-year sales growth at the beginning of the week, pub and bar operators reported that trading was down 45 per cent on thursday compared to the equivalent day last year and continued to decline over the weekend.
Food sales were similarly hit, falling up to 29 per cent between wednesday and sunday compared with the same days last year.
Emma mcclarkin, chief executive of the british beer and pub association, said that the recent restrictions on the sector would push some businesses to breaking point.
Removing a key trading period on top of fragile consumer confidence and the reduced capacity pubs already face will put thousands more pubs and jobs at risk, she said.
Patrick dardis, chief executive of youngs, said the biggest challenge for pubs was the illogical and unscientific curfew alongside the governments exhortation for people to continue working from home.
Data from the hospitality labour management company s4labour showed london was still the worst-performing region, with sales at sites across the capital 28 per cent lower than last years levels in september compared to a 2.3 per cent increase across the rest of the country.
Its the social distancing. in a pub environment six people at a table is fine but you are not getting the vertical drinking or the big bookings, said mr watson.
He added that while the companys pubs in norfolk were outperforming last years sales, both its pubs in central london remained closed.
In the six months to the end of june, city pub group reported a pre-tax loss of 4.2m on revenues of 12.1m. mr watson said the company had ruthlessly cut its cost base.
Richard hartley, s4labours chief product officer, said early september sales had been boosted by some operators continuing to offer their own version of the governments discounted dining scheme, which ran throughout august.
But, he added, that he was concerned about the continuing impact of curfew on the sector.