Gloomy June boosts restaurant trade, but drinks sales and pubs suffer

Gloomy weather in June boosted the UK restaurant trade, according to the latest data by Coffer Peach Business Tracker, but pubs and bars suffered a decline, with drink sales hit worse than food.

A view from behind an typical English pub bar

Restaurants enjoyed a 6.1% boost in like-for-like sales last month, the data from the business insight consultants showed, but pubs suffered a decline of 1.2%.

It showed how much the market was influenced by external events, such as the weather and the football, according to Karl Chessell, director of CGA. He noted that this year’s results were almost a complete reversal of last June, when pub and bar groups saw sales jumped 2.8% on the back of a mini-heatwave and England’s good showing in the men’s football World Cup, while restaurants suffered a 1.8% decline.

However, overall the results were broadly encouraging, with the overall hospitality market up by 1.4%, despite the backdrop of political uncertainty, predictions of tumbling consumer confidence and flat trading in May.

Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure said the overall boost provided by last June’s men’s World Cup had provided an overall boost and that beating those numbers on a net basis shows had showed “some much-needed positivity”.

“It’s tough out there but the hospitality sector is showing some much need resilience,” he said.

While restaurants recorded a 2.9% increase in covers during the month, drink sales in pubs and bars took a bigger hit than food falling 2.2% compared to a 1.2% fall in meals.

However ,the market performed roughly the same inside and outside the capital, with like-for-likes up 1.8% and 1.3% inside and outside London.

Total sales across the 50 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 3.7% compared to last June, but Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM pointed to a  number of high-profile restaurant closures in recent months that had prompted a net reduction of sites in June, meaning less competition for operators who remained.

“We put much of this month’s increase in like-for-like sales down to supply and demand approaching a more even keel. There are certainly more challenges ahead, but these results will be pleasing news to embattled food-led operators,” he said.

 

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