Only half of Britain’s 10 biggest city centres are experiencing growth in out-of-home food and drink sales, according to CGA and Wireless Social’s latest Top Cities report.

It’s the first time negative growth has been seen in as many as five cities since the report was launched in January this year, as the sector and consumers battle with rising inflation.

Sales across the top five cities in the vibrancy rankings for July were between 0.2% and 6.2% higher than the corresponding four-week period in 2019, but with inflation having broken the 10%-mark sales are declining in real terms.

Glasgow returns the number one spot on the list of most vibrant cities, up from sixth place in June, primarily due to sales performance, with last month’s top city Leicester dropping to fifth place.

Birmingham climbed from fifth place to second, Manchester rose from seventh place to fourth, while Bristol retained its third place positioning.

London’s vibrancy ranking saw it rank towards the bottom of the list again, in ninth place – mainly driven by a negative sales performance of -7% versus 2019, rather than lower guest log-ins, as tracked by Wireless Social.

With the capital seeing an influx of tourists over its peak period, this is likely why London has instead seen a spike in log-ins.

“Following its performance in the first half of the year, it’s no surprise to see Glasgow back on top and it’s promising to see Birmingham climb back into second position. However, it’s clear that despite the sales growth seen across some cities, the sector is still facing substantial challenges in the form of inflation, rising costs, staffing shortages and supply chain issues,” CGA client director Chris Jeffrey said.

“With half of the cities on the vibrancy ranking report seeing negative sales versus 2019 for the first time since January and cost of living concerns beginning to impact consumer spending, it looks likely that challenging trading conditions will continue to affect the sector.”

Julian Ross, founder and CEO, Wireless Social, said while growth in some part of the country was encouraging, the economic climate continue to be extremely concerning for hospitality businesses.

“The cost-of living and energy crises rage on, with seemingly no clear objectives or support measures in place or even on the table – without this intervention, the industry is heading for an extremely bleak autumn and winter. Support for our sector is desperately needed, and it’s needed now.”