BusinessPubs and BarsRestaurants

Restaurant sales recover as holiday season boosts eating-out market

Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales edge up 0.6% in August, latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

Managed pubs saw collective like-for-likes grow 0.2% against August last year, while restaurant groups were up 1.4% for the month. This showed a recovery from June and July where pubs received a large share of the trade due to the World Cup and consumers opting for outdoor drinking.

Regionally, London performed better than the rest of the country, with August like-for-like sales up 1.5% on the same period last year, while outside the M25 trading was up just 0.4%.

Underlying like-for-like growth for the 47 companies in the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 0.5% for the 12 months to the end of August, the same as it was at the end of July.

Total sales growth across the pub and restaurant cohort, which includes the effect of new openings, was 3.2% in August. This reflected a slowdown in brand rollouts, and was running at 3.7% for the 12 months to the end of the month.

Karl Chessell, director at CGA, said: “These latest figures will come as a huge relief for restaurant operators, who have been under the cosh of late, not least because of the early summer heatwave which was great news for Britain’s pubs as the public headed outdoors, but little help for the country’s restaurant chains.

“More mixed weather during August and a damp bank holiday weekend will have helped the casual dining market. The school holidays will have also helped as parents looked to keep their families occupied.”

David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group, added: “The summer tourist season and the continuing good weather appears to have given an uplift to trading levels for restaurants in London, especially those with external seating. This is also reflected in the increase of like-for-likes in restaurant groups.

“This may well be a deceptive improvement as the impact of possible political upheaval begins to gain momentum over the coming months. The reaction of the UK restaurant public could swing either way in terms of seeking solace in food and beverage venues. Generally, we are seeing a continuing demand for restaurants in good trading locations but a drop-in demand otherwise. Premiums for leases are certainly at a five year low.”

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