Restaurants trump pubs in modest July performance

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 27:  In this photo illustration pound coins are stacked in front of a twenty pound note on November 27 2008 in Bristol, England. Many UK consumers are feeling the pinch as the financial crisis and economic downturn makes borrowing harder and more expensive and the recession starts to bite.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Pub and restaurant groups have managed to secure a marginal growth in July amidst fears regarding consumer confidence levels.

Restaurants slightly outperformed pub chains showing 0.9% like-for-like growth rate against 0.4% for pub and bar operators according to CGA Peach. The latest figures reveal collective like-for-like sales were up by 0.6% across the sector in July compared to the same month last year.

“It’s an essentially flat market out there, with the modest 0.6% growth rate exactly the same as we saw in June,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA.

“Despite all the media talk of fragile consumer confidence, it appears that the British are continuing to go out to eat and drink much as they did last year – which is good news. However, the increased cost pressures that operators across the sector are facing this year, particularly from increases in business rates and food costs, mean that margins are being squeezed and businesses are feeling the pinch.”

Total sales growth in July among the 37 companies in the Tracker cohort was 3.7%, 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 1.6% ahead for the 12 months to the end of July.

Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, added: “The market is essentially stable, with little dynamic movement in any of the sub-markets, geographically or by sector. The good weather in July should have benefitted wet led venues which makes the relatively strong figures from the restaurant sector encouraging.”

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 37 operating groups.

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