Early May bank holiday marks busiest day for pubs

Pubs enjoyed the busiest day of the year so far during the early May bank holiday, ahead of the weekend’s mini heatwave.

Transactions in pubs, bars and clubs across the UK reached a 2024 high on Saturday 4 May, during the early May bank holiday, as the sunny weather and long weekend encouraged Brits to visit their local. 

According to Barclays Consumer Spend data, transactions were up 16.8% compared to the previous Saturday, with 2.5 times as many sales processed compared to the average day this year so far.  

The Barclays April Consumer Spend Index showed that pubs, bars and clubs saw a 3.9% boost in April, but punters cut back on food and drink spending that month overall, with restaurants seeing a 13.1% decline, hampered by the cold weather that month.

However, consumers' confidence in their ability to spend more on non-essential items improved, reaching 56%, which might suggest that falling inflation, easing interest rates and better weather will drive spending. 

'Cause for optimism'

Rich Robinson, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, says of the findings: "Improving consumer confidence gives more cause for optimism for the hospitality industry. As the summer season approaches, the weather improves, and with major sporting and entertainment events on the horizon, pubs and restaurants will undoubtedly be hopeful that spending will rebound."

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