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Wed 20th Jul 2016 - Coffer Peach Tracker – pub and restaurant like-for-likes up 1.8%, Harry Ramsden's to open £2.5m Blackpool Tower site
Coffer Peach Tracker – overall like-for-likes up 1.8% on June 2015, pub chains helped by TV football, outperformed casual dining: Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales up 1.8% in June against the same month last year, boosted mainly by later school holidays, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Pub chains, which also benefited from televising of the Euro 2016 football tournament, reported collective like-for-likes up 2.0% for the month, while restaurant groups were ahead 1.4%. “The later school half-term break, which this year fell in June against May in 2015, was a big factor in the improved performance, having had a corresponding negative impact last month,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS. “The truth is that the eating and drinking out market remains sluggishly slow, with underlying growth of only about 1% year on year,” he added. “The sales growth in June essentially all came in the first week, which enjoyed a double-digit boost. Our weekly figures show that the rest of the month was generally negative, despite football being on TV. Pubs did benefit from the football, with drink-led pubs and bars, especially those outside London, up 3.8% on last June, but that was generally evened out by a drop off in eating out. There is also some evidence that drink-led businesses have benefited from the National Living Wage putting a few more pounds in the pockets of younger, blue collar workers, although that’s not replicated across the market,” Martin said. Regionally, London had a tougher month than the rest of Britain, reversing the situation in May. Like-for-like sales inside the M25 were up just 0.1% in June, against plus 2.5% outside. Total sales for the month among the 33 companies in the Tracker cohort were up 5.7% on June 2015, reflecting the fact groups are still opening new sites, especially outside London. “Despite some fluctuations from month to month, the market is showing only slow underlying growth reflecting both increased competition and more uncertain economic times. The annual trend shows sector like-for-likes were running at just 1.1% up for the 12 months to the end of June, with restaurant chains up 2.0%, pub groups ahead 0.5% and very little difference between London and the rest of the country,” Martin added. “As for the impact of the Brexit vote, July figures will give a clearer picture, but early indications from our weekly data suggest little difference either way, although that might be down to the weather.” Trevor Watson, executive director valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The overall increase in total sales from the participating companies continues to show the extent to which corporates are winning trade from independents. The sample is showing a slight reduction in number of outlets, as operators continue to refine and improve their portfolios. We expect to see this trend accelerate as operators seek to maximise returns from their prime estate. The economic headwinds that were building in the early part of 2016 are likely to be with us for the rest of 2017, fuelled by Brexit economic uncertainty and international terrorism. The change in the value of sterling will help to sustain revenue figures in London, but will lead to increased cost pressures for all operators, some of which will probably be passed on through price increases. That could help support this index over the next few months.”

Harry Ramsden’s to open £2.5m next-generation restaurant at Blackpool Tower tomorrow: Fish and chip restaurant brand Harry Ramsden’s will open its next-generation £2.5m restaurant at Blackpool Tower tomorrow (Thursday, 21 July). “Harry Ramsden at the Tower” features a modern take on seaside design, which has been specially created for Blackpool and its iconic landmark. As well as a wide-ranging menu of fresh, cooked to order rotisserie and grilled seafood and meat dishes, together with Harry’s world famous fish and chips and much more, the new outlet will provide takeaway as well as sit-in facilities for more than 200 diners. In addition, the new-look outlet, which has created 100 jobs and safeguarded another 30 following the closure of the company’s Promenade restaurant, will include gin and craft beer bars and a standalone cocktail bar as well as smoothie and juicing stations. £2.1m has been invested in the venture by Boparan Ventures, the owners of Harry Ramsden’s, with Blackpool Council contributing £400,000 towards building works. Harry Ramsden’s chief executive Joe Teixeira said: “Harry’s is moving into the next phase of its evolution, where we book-end our classic and most loved favourite dishes with a new range of innovative, tasty and great value options served in modern-day, seaside surroundings, and we are thrilled to showcase this new face of Harry Ramsden’s in the north’s favourite town. We believe Blackpool’s most iconic landmark is the ideal location from which to unveil the modern-day face of Harry’s, as both brands combine the proudest of heritages wrapped up firmly in a family focus. Just as the Tower itself recently enjoyed a major revamp, with this new opening we will unveil a totally new look which retains all the key elements which Harry himself introduced, but better reflects the modern-day face of Harry Ramsden’s.”

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