Food and beverage sales for March fell by 29%, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa.

THEBE MABANGA

THE adverse effect of the national lockdown began to show as food and beverage sales for March fell by 29%, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown regulations since 27 March have had an extensive impact on economic activity.” said Stats SA.

“Measured in real terms at constant 2015 prices, total income generated by the food and beverages industry decreased by 29,4% in March 2020 compared with March 2019.” 

The largest decrease was recorded for bar sales, which plunged 40.4% as bars operated in restricted hours when the National State of Disaster was declared in mid-March and closed down completely for the last three days of March. 

Stats SA says the largest fall was recorded in restaurants and coffee shops, which saw a -34 % fall in income and takeaway and fast-food outlets, which recorded a 23.6% drop in income.

Figures for April will be more grim as establishments were completely closed. 

Over the first quarter, total income decreased by 9.1% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

The largest fall was in restaurants and coffee shops, which fell by 10.0% and catering services, which fell by 14.7% as events were cancelled. 

Taking into account seasonal factors such as public holidays, food and beverages income fell income by 25,8%  in March 2020 compared to February  once again, restaurants and coffee shops took the most pain with a -31,2%  slump  and takeaway and fast-food outlets  saw a 20,3% drop in income.

The National Lockdown will be an extraordinary seasonal factor in the quarters and years ahead. 

(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)

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