DATA JUST OUT: Fall in pub and restaurant groups exposes ‘flat’ market

Wasabi, Birmingham New Street station

Britain’s managed pub and restaurant market experienced a dip in trading in May, with operators recording collective like-for-like sales down 0.4% compared to the same month last year, latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

Groups trading in London did slightly better with like-for-likes up 0.1%, compared to a 0.6% fall outside of the M25.

“May’s numbers will be a disappointment for operators as they come after a 4.4% increase in April, but the truth is we are seeing an essentially flat market,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

 “Eating and drinking out has proved resilient, with the public continuing to go out even through the last downturn. Our BrandTrack consumer surveys show frequency of both eating and drinking out-of-home staying fairly constant over recent years.

“The problem hasn’t been so much consumer confidence but business confidence, with mounting cost pressures on operators from rising wages, business rates and food costs. The latest fall in sterling following the general election result will only add to that,” he said.

Restaurant chains did marginally better than pub groups in May, with flat like-for-likes compared to a 0.7% decline across managed pubs.

Drink-led businesses did better than food-led operations, due mainly to the weather, but Mr Martin said that overall it had been “sluggish” across the board.

Total sales growth in May among the 35 companies in the Tracker cohort was 2.4%, reflecting the continuing if more subdued effect of new openings over the year.

The underlying annual sales trend shows sector like-for-likes running at 1.3% ahead for the 12 months to the end of May.

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 35 operating groups, and is recognised as the established industry benchmark. CGA Peach is part of CGA Strategy.

 Pub and restaurant group sales performance for last 12 months

Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May
LFLs 1.8% 0.3% 0.6% 1,8% -1.0% 1.1% 1.1% 1.9% 1.7% -0.5% 4.4% -0.4%
Total 5.7% 4.0% 4.2% 5.0% 1.9% 4.1% 4.4% 4.4% 4.7% 2.1% 7.4% 2.4%

Source: Coffer Peach Business Tracker

CGA Peach collects sales figures directly 35 leading companies. Participants include Mitchells & Butlers, Pizza Hut, Whitbread, Pizza Express, The Restaurant Group, Spirit Group, Casual Dining Group, Stonegate, TGI Fridays, Marston’s, Azzurri Restaurants, Wagamama, YO! Sushi, Prezzo, Novus, Fuller’s, Carluccio’s, Young’s, Living Ventures, Strada, Amber Taverns, Hall & Woodhouse, Gaucho, Giraffe, Loungers, Byron, New World Trading Co, Peach Pub Co, Le Bistrot Pierre, Laine Pub Co, All Star Lanes, Le Pain Quotidien, Fazenda, Liberation Group and Downing LLP (investment partner of Antic London).

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