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Thu 19th Jan 2017 - Pub and restaurant like-for-like sales increase 2.2% in December, London sees 5.1% uplift
Pub and restaurant like-for-like sales increase 2.2% in December, London sees 5.1% uplift: Pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales increase 2.2% over the six-week Christmas and New Year period compared with last year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. London saw the best uplift, with collective like-for-like sales inside the M25 up 5.1% compared with 1.2% for the rest of Britain. The data also showed that after a slow start, most of the uplift came in the last three weeks of the festive season. Pubs and restaurants fared equally well during the six weeks of festive trading to 8 January, with like-for-like increases of 2.2% and 2.1% respectively. However, drink-led pub and bar businesses generally out-performed food-led operations, which reflects other research by CGA Peach that suggests more people visited pubs this festive season than last. The results are an improvement on the performance in Christmas 2015, when like-for-like sales were up 1.8% on the previous year. “With all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and growing cost concerns for the industry around staffing and business rates, these results will come as a welcome relief for operating companies,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, the research and insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM. “They also show that people are still willing and able to go out to eat and drink and enjoy themselves given the right offer and opportunity. The uplift for eating and drinking out also mirrors the upswing in retail sales for the period, showing that spending was on both in-home and out-of-home entertainment. The leading performance of London was also probably a reflection of its increased attraction for overseas visitors with the weakness in the value of sterling. One interesting point is that, just like last year, Christmas started late with the increase in spending only beginning in the week leading up to Christmas Day itself, and continuing over New Year. For the first three weeks of the festive period, when most people were still at work, like-for-like sales were either flat or slightly down on the same weeks in 2015.” Total sales among the 33 companies in the Tracker cohort for the six-week period were up 5.4% on the same time last year, reflecting the impact of new site openings. Coffer Corporate Leisure managing director Mark Sheehan said: “These numbers are reflective of the mood among pub and restaurant operators where optimism is returning. There are going to be cost increases during 2017 and operators need to see sales growth to stand still. After a relatively tough autumn we believe consumers are now returning with more confidence.” RSM head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman added: “The negative post-referendum predictions have failed to materialise and consumers have loosened their purse strings, providing a welcome relief to operators as they manage increased input costs and wage inflation. Attracting transient EU workers has been key to the success and growth of the UK’s hospitality sector. Theresa May’s Brexit negotiation comments now make it clear that new migration rules will need to be agreed providing further uncertainty for the sector in the months ahead.” CGA senior consumer research manager Charlie Mitchell said: “Our separate consumer research shows the public made the most of the eating and drinking out market over the festive period. On eight of the top ten festive trading dates, more than 50% of consumers who went out did so for both food and drinks, the exceptions being the more drink-focused New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. The beneficiaries were those operators that could combine an excellent drinks offer with good-quality food.”

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