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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 12th Aug 2019 - Sector like-for-likes up 1.2% in July but restaurant groups see more closures than openings
Sector like-for-likes up 1.2% in July but restaurant groups see more closures than openings: Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales grow 1.2% in July against the same time last year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Restaurant groups saw like-for-likes up 3.8% against last year, when hot weather and the Fifa World Cup hit trading. However, they registered more closures than openings during the month. Meanwhile, managed pubs, which had a bumper time in 2018 because of the tournament and sunny weather, saw sales slip back as expected, but by just 0.2%. Regionally, trading outside of the M25 was slightly better than in London, up 1.3% against 1.0%. Restaurants had a better time outside the capital, up 4.3% against 2.4%, while pubs held up better in London, with like-for-like growth of 0.1% against a 0.3% decline outside. “Considering the barnstorming July pubs had last year, holding relatively steady this July will be seen as a good performance, and restaurant groups will be more than relieved with their sales recovery,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM. “Following a good showing in June when collective like-for-likes across the sector grew 1.4%, the eating and drinking-out market is showing some resilience. Nevertheless, with Brexit looming, there will be real nervousness about a crash in autumn.” Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons, added: “These figures are very much ‘steady as she goes’ for both the pub and restaurant sectors. Pub like-for-likes were always going to be challenging against a World Cup year and the exceptional weather of 2018. Decent weather in 2019 as well has no doubt helped sustain performance on the wet-led side. We continue to see very good results from quality operators with good demand for new sites across the country from both established and emerging operators across both sectors.” Total sales across the 54 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 3.6% compared with last July. “While managed pub groups continue to expand slowly, during July restaurant groups registered more closures than openings,” said Chessell. Underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 1.8% for the 12 months to the end of July, up from 1.6% at the end of June.

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