The return of outside drinking coincides with reports of availability issues caused by the re-allocation of alcohol.

The impact on convenience store sales from the reopening of pubs on 12 April has varied, according to retailers.

Last week, pubs in England were allowed to serve customers in seated outdoor spaces as part of the government’s lockdown exit strategy. However, some retailers said the reopenings had caused no decline to their sales.

Amish Shingadia, of Londis Caterways in Horsham, told betterRetailing: “Pubs have reopened for outdoor seating, but people can do the same in their gardens and customers have still been continuing to buy their alcohol from stores.”

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Arjan Singh Rhoud, of Premier Morley in Leeds, added: “The pub down the road reopened, but I don’t see it having an impact.

“The opening times are limited and service isn’t at full capacity because they’ve got fewer staff.”

Advising how retailers can offset decline, Mike Nichols, of Costcutter Dringhouses in York, said: “We saw a decrease in footfall as there’s a pub nearby. People are still likely to visit a convenience store on their way back, so the best thing a retailer can do is ensure they’ve got availability.”

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Shingadia added he knew some retailers who had been badly hit by the reopenings. “Their nearby pubs created a marquee in their car parks.

“The pub customers were parking outside the convenience stores, leaving no space for the retailer’s customers to park.”

In a report released last week, Tom Fender, development director of market analyst The Wholesale Company, predicted convenience stores would see like-for-like performance decline as hospitality resumes trading.

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The return of hospitality comes as wholesale and symbol group bosses reported availability issues caused by the re-allocation of alcohol. One wholesale boss told betterRetailing: “I think they are all trying to manage the demand from pubs as the sector reopens.”

Another senior wholesale source added: “All brewers are facing supply issues due to demand, especially with 440ml cans and a shortage of aluminium.”

A reported cyber attack experienced by Molson Coors had also affected alcohol availability through wholesalers and convenience stores.

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However, availability from Molson Coors was mixed, as one wholesaler said the brewer has been producing extra volume of 500ml Carling and Coors following the attack.

A Molson Coors spokesperson said: “A recent IT issue affected the supply of a small number of our products. We have good supply across our major brands and are working hard to restore full availability to impacted customers as quickly as possible.”

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