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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 13th May 2019 - Pubs see like-for-likes surge 5.3% in Easter sunshine as restaurant sales plummet
Pubs see like-for-likes surge 5.3% in Easter sunshine as restaurant sales plummet: Managed pubs saw like-for-likes surge 5.3% in the Easter sunshine but restaurants struggled in the heat, with sales declining 19.4% compared with Easter 2018, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Drinks-led pubs performed particularly well, up 10.9%, as the public headed outdoors. However, the overall eating and drinking-out market was actually down 3.6% over the four-day weekend as, in stark contrast to pubs, restaurant chains saw collective like-for-like sales tumble 18.6% against last Easter’s trading. “You simply can’t escape the fact weather always has a major influence on the fortunes of the pub and restaurant sector – and what’s good for pubs is rarely good for restaurants,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM. “These Easter figures just underline that reality. The Easter weekend last year, which fell in March rather than April, was good for trade overall and particularly restaurants, as although the weather wasn’t stunning the holiday weekend came in the aftermath of the snow that accompanied the Beast From The East. There was plenty of pent-up demand from people wanting to get out, which helped boost sales across the sector by almost 6% against Easter 2017. So although this Easter may have been a bit of a disappointment overall, it was still better than two years ago.” There was better news for the month of April overall, helped by the fact it contained the Easter period this year. Collective like-for-like sales for the combined managed pub, bar and restaurant sector were up 1.1% on April last year. Pubs and bars were up 2.1%, while restaurant groups reported like-for-like decline of 0.7%. Within the pub grouping, drink sales were ahead 2.7%, with food up a more modest 0.8%. Regionally, London saw a fall in like-for-like trading, down 0.7% on last April, while outside the M25 was up 1.7% on a like-for-like basis for the month. Looking at the underlying trends, however, London is still outperforming the rest of the country. Market like-for-likes overall were up 1.7% for the 12 months to the end of April, with London running at 2.5% ahead and outside the M25 up 1.5%. Total sales across the 50 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 4.0% compared with last April, showing that although openings have slowed they have not stopped. Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “The Easter numbers are difficult to measure because of the contrasting weather year-on-year and the later Easter. The April numbers overall, though, were down and show the pressure the hospitality sector is under – like many other sectors relying on consumer confidence. Pubs trade well when consumer confidence is low but the restaurant sector is also affected by the retail woes we’re seeing. This could be a difficult summer while we have no resolution to Brexit.”

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