Boost for UK pub, bar and restaurant sector as sales rise nearly 2% on last year

UK pubs, restaurants and bar received a boost in January, with sales up 1.9% on the same period last year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker report, as the market stabilised.

(Photo: iStock)

Restaurant groups saw the biggest boost with like-for-like sales in January, rising 2.5%, while managed pubs saw like-for-likes grow 1.7% and bar operators rose a more modest 0.9%.

The biggest boost was seen by on-trade establishments outside the M25, which rose 2.5%, while London-based outlets had a tougher time, with like-for-like sales up only 0.7%.

It comes after a strong festive trading period, which saw collective like-for-likes up 2.5% against the previous year.

Karl Chessell, director of CGA, said the reasonably good weather – in particular the lack of snow – had helped sales, but it was encouraging to see that the public was continuing to go out to eat and drink.

Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said the growth essentially put the market back to where it was two years ago, after a drop last of of 1.8%, adding that it demonstrated an underlying stability in the market, despite the political climate and what has been going on in the wider economy.

“The eating and drinking out market is showing resilience and people’s appetite for going out remains intact,” he said.

“There is a universal feeling of improved investor confidence, however, this has not yet translated into deal flow. The stabilised consumer confidence combined with a stronger investor mentality is likely to result in steady improvement as the year progresses. We are off to a decent start.”

However, Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, issued a note of caution, noting the “tremendous cost pressures, particularly around people, business rates and food prices” facing the sector.

“Operators will eagerly await any news on the easing of such costs from Sajid Javid’s upcoming budget announcement,” he said.

The Coffer Peach Tracker, which is produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and business advisory firm RSM, monitors sales across the UK pub, bar and restaurant sector, collecting and analysing data from 58 operating groups that represent nearly 10,000 sites across the UK, and have a combined turnover of over £11 billion.

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