Hospitality sales dived by 48% in the third quarter of 2020, equating to a year-on-year fall of some £17b.
Sales for the 12 months to the end of September totalled £80.3b. The figure is £53.2b less than £133.5b the sector contributed to the UK economy in 2019, the latest tracker from UKHospitality and CGA has found.
The drop in sales comes despite the relative success of the chancellor's Eat Out to Help Out scheme and has renewed calls for further financial support from government as the threat of further lockdowns looms.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "This is clearly dreadful news and made all the more desperate when combined with the expectation that Christmas will be, for many businesses, very bleak.
"Regional lockdowns and additional restrictions are also beginning to bite businesses hard. This highlights the need for clarity on the roadmap for businesses in Tier 2 and 3 regions. We need some idea of how businesses can plan to move out of the higher tiers to give themselves a half chance of success. Otherwise, these awful figures are likely to be surpassed in Q4."
Phil Tate, group chief executive of CGA, added: "The tracker makes plain the seismic impact of Covid-19 and restrictions on hospitality. After sales were all but wiped out in the second quarter, a 48% fall in the third is not the recovery the sector was hoping for, in spite of the temporary boost from Eat Out to Help Out. Hospitality's sales are inextricably tied to government restrictions on trading and socialising, and every new measure deals another blow to operators and the supply chain.
"Businesses have responded to the pandemic with resilience and innovation, but they need proper, sustained support over what is going to be an extremely challenging winter."