Restaurant businesses suffering
By Mike Jewell, Euroview contributing writer
Restaurants continue to suffer under the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic. New data released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs on 23 April show the deepening effects of the global crisis on Taiwan’s food and beverage sector.
The sector posted its biggest decline since records were first released 20 years ago. Revenue dropped 21% year-on-year in March, a fall of NT$15.3 billion (US$508.6 million), far greater than the NT$8.7 billion that had been predicted.
Restaurants, which make up the bulk of F&B sales, took an even bigger hit, plunging 22.3%. The decrease was mainly due to a sharp decline in tourism, as a result of the ongoing border closures, as well as to local consumers’ dwindling appetite for eating out for fear of infections, according to an MOEA spokesperson.
Meanwhile, revenue from the retail sector contracted 3.4% last month to NT$2.91 trillion, as sales of fuel products dropped 21.5% amid slumping oil prices.
The ministry’s figures reflect changing consumer purchasing behaviour, as referenced in our latest feature article, with the switch to online buying continuing to gather pace and registering a 19.1% year-on-year increase. And the stay-at-home mind-set is also benefitting supermarkets, with consumers buying more household and hygiene products, driving supermarket revenues up by 30%. The big losers were department stores, which suffered a decline of 21.6% in March sales compared to 2019, as potential purchasers preferred to reduce their discretionary spending in the face of uncertainty over the economy and possible future job losses.