Restaurants are increasingly opting to repair catering equipment than replace it as the backdrop of Brexit weighs heavily on the market, it has been suggested.
The latest CESA analysis for mid-2019 shows that its members reported significant drops in sales during the second quarter.
Some saw declines of between 10% and 15%, with multiple retail sectors having stalled entirely, in line with the consumer trading. Only the pub and brewery market stood out for bucking the trend as it held steady overall.
CESA said there were clear signs that operators are trying to save money.
“The service and spares industry remains strong, indicating that equipment is being repaired rather than replaced,” it noted.
However, some areas of the market continue to see solid demand for replacement items.
CESA said sales of light equipment remained high, indicating that consumer spending appears to be holding well with significant inbound tourism due to the declining value of the pound compared to other currencies.
But it pointed out that there is a tendency for buyers to downgrade to cheaper products overall, suggesting that there is less willingness to invest in capital goods for the medium to long term.
Project work remains very competitive, putting further pressure on the supply chain, it added.
“These findings reflect what the latest government figures are saying,” says CESA director Keith Warren. “They are further evidence that the market is rather unstable at the moment. Certainly Brexit, or rather the continued uncertainty surrounding it, is part of the problem. We are at the heart of representing the issues with ministers and the civil service and are communicating the developments to members.”
UK-published figures on the economy show overall retail growth in July increased by only 0.3% – the lowest recorded figure for July since 1995 – while food sales decreased 1% on a like-for-like basis (0.3% total).