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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 24th May 2023 - Sector like-for-likes up 6.9% in April but inflation erases growth
Sector like-for-likes up 6.9% in April but inflation erases growth: Britain’s leading managed restaurant, pub and bar groups saw like-for-like sales grow 6.9% in April 2023 compared with last year, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker shows. It is a seventh positive month in a row for the tracker – which is produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK – and significantly higher than the figure of 1.4% in March. However, growth remains well below the current rate of inflation, and rising costs continue to impact both consumers’ spending and businesses’ margins. April trading was boosted by public holidays, including Easter and the start of the early May bank holiday weekend. Pubs saw like-for-like sales 8.1% ahead of April 2022, restaurants were up 7.6%, but bars had another difficult month, with sales down 9.1%. Managed groups continued their strong post-covid recovery in London, where April sales rose 10.4% year-on-year – just ahead of inflation. Growth beyond the M25 stood at 5.8%. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ, said: “April’s trading figures show the impressive resilience and appeal of managed restaurant, pub and bar groups in a very challenging market. It’s particularly pleasing to see the sustained recovery in London, where covid restrictions took a heavy toll on hospitality. Consumers clearly remain eager to eat and drink out, and we can be optimistic that their spending will increase when household bills start to ease – but with inflation so high, real-terms growth remains elusive.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “Pubs and restaurants continue to see sales growth much of which is on the back of price rises. There is much innovation in the sector and competition remains strong. Inflation can breed inflation. Consumers are not surprised by price rises but operators need sales to at least keep up with costs and volumes to increase. While numbers continue to improve, we are not yet seeing this.”

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