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Weekly update w/c 07.09.2020: Restaurants benefit from August boost but the future remains uncertain for many, and Morrisons kicks-off the discounting war on household essentials

Official government figures report that 100 million meals were claimed during the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, with restaurant reservations up 216% on the August bank holiday compared to last year. The value being claimed now sits at £522 million, although this is expected to rise as more claims are processed. 

Despite the August boost, the hospitality sector still faces an uncertain future.  Pret A Manger has announced that nearly 3,000 jobs will be lost and expects to close 28 London sites as it restructures its business.  Targets for new revenue streams include expanded delivery services (opening its first “dark kitchen”), the launch of a “coffee subscription” service, and exploring food retail opportunities.

In the more traditional food retail sector, Morrisons have announced plans for mass discounting across 400 essentials, including fruit & vegetables, meat, bread, cornflakes, rice and pasta, as well as household cleaning products.  The supermarket has said that these discounts are to help families who have found themselves stretched due to the pandemic and that the promotions are “here to stay”.   

As reported previously, food retailers have generally seen sales increase during the lockdown, with the Association of Convenience Stores reporting that two thirds of convenience stores saw sales growth in that period.

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