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Tue 11th Jun 2019 - Growth stays flat for UK pubs and restaurants in May, trading better outside London
Growth stays flat for UK pubs and restaurants in May, trading better outside London: Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw trading flat-line in May, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Collective like-for-like sales growth across the market was zero compared with the same period last year. London saw like-for-like sales down 0.6%, while outside the M25 sales were up a marginal 0.2%. Restaurant chains performed better than pubs and bars and more strongly than in recent months, with like-for likes up 3.1% compared with May last year. In comparison, pub and bar groups saw collective like-for-likes fall 1.7%, with drink sales down 2.4% and food down 1.6%. Total sales across the 52 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 2.4% compared with May 2018. Longer-term underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents large and small groups, was running at 1.7% for the 12 months to the end of May. “The public still went out to eat and drink but only at the same level as last May. While this could initially seem like bad news for the market, especially after the positive growth seen in March and April, we have to remember May 2018 benefited from consistently good weather and the royal wedding. Maintaining sales against this positive backdrop and throughout what is widely acknowledged as tougher trading conditions is no mean feat,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM. Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The pattern of spending in restaurants and bars reflects weather variations. At Davis Coffer Lyons we are experiencing improved activity in terms of site finding, with many successful operators taking the view now is a good time to acquire high-quality locations without needing to pay for excessive premiums.”

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