Managed pub, bar and restaurant operators saw a continued improvement in like-for-like sales throughout July, but were still almost 25% down on pre-coronavirus levels by the end of the month, the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker has revealed.

According to the tracker, for the w/c 27 July, collective like-for-like trading across reopened businesses was down 24.3% on the same period last year.

However, sales saw a gradual but consistent increase across the course of the month, moving up from -28.5% (w/c 20 July), -31.6% (w/c 13 July) and -39.8% (w/c 6 July).

Total sales across the sector showed a 33% increase on the previous weeks trading, boosted by more operators opening their doors and greater sales in individual sites.

By the end of the month, 74% of group-operated sites were open, up from 68% the week before.

Reopened group-run restaurants saw like-for-likes down 21.7% on the same week last year, up from -22.4% the week before, pubs saw collective LFLS at -23.6%, up from -29%, and bars were down 37.9%, from -45.7%.

“Progress is being made but if people were expecting a rapid bounce-back, they will be disappointed,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, which produces the Tracker in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.

“We are seeing from individual company reports that trade in city centres is more difficult compared with many less urban locations. Monthly tracker data will be available this week, which will give us a more granular view of regional differences and food and drink splits.”