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Thu 19th May 2016 - Coffer Peach – restaurant like-for-likes up 2.5%, pubs down 2.7%
Coffer Peach Tracker – Britain’s eating and drinking-out market continues slowdown in April, like-for-likes up 2.5% at restaurants but down 2.7% at pubs: Britain’s eating and drinking-out market continued to slow in April, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Collective like-for-like sales across managed pub and restaurant groups were down 0.8% against the same month last year, and follow a modest 0.6% increase in March. While restaurant groups saw like-for-like trading increase 2.5%, pub groups experienced a 2.7% decline on April last year. Regionally, London outperformed the rest of Britain, with like-for-likes up 1% against a 1.3% fall outside the M25. “April’s performance can in part be put down to the cold weather, to Easter being in March rather than April this year and also to the general slowdown in the wider economy in the run-up to the Brexit vote, but the underlying fact is the overall market has been essentially flat since the start of the year, with April’s numbers coming on the back of zero growth in February and only a small uptick in March,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS. Martin added: “The cold weather in the month also helps to explain why restaurants did better than pubs, as poor weather always tends to favour restaurants and good weather favours pubs. But taken together we are seeing a slowdown in market growth. Industry sentiment at the start of the year was that 2016 was going to be a tougher year than last, and that seems to be panning out. Optimism levels among operators are still positive, but down on 2015.” Total sales for the month among the 31 companies in the Tracker cohort were up 3.1% on 2015, reflecting the fact groups are still opening new sites, if at a slower rate than previously. The underlying annual trend shows sector like-for-likes running at 1.5% up for the 12 months to the end of April. Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The global business environment is now learning to deal with a period of long-term uncertainty. This has led to UK economic indicators weakening – it is not just about Brexit. Announcements from Tata Steel, BHS and Austin Reed are all leading to more cautious consumer sentiment. Against this background, the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker statistics are only to be expected. With the number of new openings continuing to exceed closures, the pressure on operators is unlikely to diminish for the rest of the year.” Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “This month’s figures again show a disappointing like-for-like trend, particularly outside of London. This slowdown in growth is in part driven by an increasing number of exciting new concepts taking market share from the established, mainstream operators whose results dominate the Business Tracker. This disruption is provoking these operators to review their brand portfolios and is driving increasing trade mergers and acquisitions activity in the sector, as witnessed by Whitbread acquiring a stake in Pure and PizzaExpress acquiring upmarket pizza delivery chain Firezza. We see this trend set to continue throughout the remainder of the year.”

Leon to open first Scottish site, debut high street venue outside London: Natural fast food brand Leon is set to open its first site in Scotland and debut high street venue outside London. The company, founded in 2004 by John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, is launching in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow in July, creating 25 jobs. Vincent said: “I have happy memories of Glasgow. It is a city with style, spirit and energy. Now I have an excuse to come more often. We have received a lot of requests from people in Glasgow asking for us to open in their home town – we hope we can do them proud and create a place they love. Glasgow will become the most northerly point on the Leon map, and our first high street store outside London so I’m looking forward to introducing a whole new audience to our fun and fresh fast food.” Emma Lawson, portfolio manager at Land Securities, which owns Buchanan Galleries, added: “Glasgow is a magnet for new culinary outlets and Buchanan Galleries is delighted to be home to the first Scottish Leon store. The naturally fast food offering they have created is something completely different and we are sure shoppers will love it.” Customers will be able to order Leon classics such as the Moroccan Meatball hotbox (served with brown rice and crispy slaw), the signature fish finger wrap, the “char-frilled” chicken burger with tarragon olive oil mayo, baked fries and the original superfood salad. Earlier this month, Leon’s accounts for the year ending December 2015 showed it opened 12 new sites, created 235 jobs and increased its like-for-like sales by an additional 7.8% on top of last year’s 23%. That brings its total increase of like-for-likes to almost 50% in three years. The company currently operates 35 sites.

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