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Mon 20th Aug 2018 - Managed pub like-for-likes up 2.7% in July but restaurant sales plummet 4.8%
Managed pub like-for-likes up 2.7% in July but restaurant sales plummet 4.8%: The heatwave in July was good news for Britain’s pubs but heaped more pressure on the country’s restaurant chains, the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker has revealed. Managed pub and bar groups saw like-for-like sales rise 2.7% against July 2017, while sales across restaurant groups plummeted, down a substantial 4.8% in like-for-like trading. Overall, the differing fortunes of pub and restaurant businesses cancelled each other out, with the combined sector seeing like-for-likes flat in July, recording exactly 0% growth. Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM, said: “Continued sunshine and England’s longer-than-expected participation in the World Cup meant July followed a similar pattern to the previous month of June, when pubs were up 2.8%, except restaurants were hit even harder. The fall of 1.8% in trading in June just got worse in July. Wet-led pubs and bars performed by far the strongest, with like-for-likes up more than restaurants were down. Food-led pubs also suffered in the sun with negative like-for-likes, although not as dramatically as the restaurant operators. It seems people just wanted to go out for a drink. Across managed pubs and bars drink sales were up 6.6% for the month, with food down 3.0%.” Underlying like-for-like growth for the 47 companies in the tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 0.5% for the 12 months to the end of July, down slightly from the 0.7% at the end of June. Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “London had a particularly strong month with overall like-for-like sales up 2.6%. This was driven predominantly by the capital’s pubs market – buoyed by England’s unexpected progression at the World Cup – which was trading 6.1% ahead. The rest of the country had a more difficult period with like-for-like sales down 0.9%. Restaurant trading fell a painful 5.6% – compared with 2.8% in the capital – with pub like-for-likes up just 1.7% despite the football.” Total sales growth across the pub and restaurant cohort, which includes the effect of new openings, was 2.7% in July, reflecting a slowdown in brand roll-outs, and running at 3.6% for the 12 months to the end of July.

The Alchemist unveils new look for flagship central London site: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has unveiled a new look for its flagship central London site. Bevis Marks has undergone a £280,000 refurbishment to realign with the look and feel of The Alchemist’s most recent openings, including Cardiff. The design focuses on trademark “copper-cased wonderland” decor with interiors featuring amber, copper and red accompanied by gothic artwork to create a “richer, more immersive and shareable bar and restaurant experience”. Bevis Marks is the brand’s first London venue. Opening in 2014, it has sold one million cocktails, the company said. Londoners will soon be able to enjoy two further Alchemist sites with a St Martin’s Lane opening in November and another in Old Street in March 2019. The Alchemist head of brand Jenny McPhee said: “The design of our venues is paramount to the overall Alchemist experience. As the brand has evolved and grown, so has the look and feel of The Alchemist environments. Our guests will really see a difference in our design and offering as we aim to elevate our venues with each launch and refurbishment. We have two further London openings within the next year, and it is important to us that all London venues incorporate the new Alchemist style.” The Alchemist also has sites in Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Chester, Oxford and Nottingham, while it will launch new bar concept Aether in Liverpool next month.

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