Pub and restaurant groups maintain post-recession revival

March 12, 2015

• February like-for-like sales up 1.6% nationally
• 23rd consecutive month of like-for-like growth

Leading managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales edge up 1.6% in February, according to latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures – continuing an almost two-year trend of consistent post-recession growth.

Total sales for the month among the 30 companies in the tracker sample were up 5.8% on February 2014, reflecting the sector’s investment in new openings – especially among restaurant brands outside of London.

“February marked the 23rd consecutive month of positive like-for-like sales for the sector. It is showing steady but consistent growth, which illustrates the underlying strength of the market and the public’s desire to continue to go out to eat and drink,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS.

“Casual dining brands are currently leading the sector, collectively recording a 3.4% like-for-like sales increase in February, including a 4.6% uplift for brands outside of the M25. Not only are groups opening new sites, but right across the market are now actively investing in refreshing their propositions and also being quicker to dispose of underperforming sites, so maintaining that positive sales momentum,” Martin added.

“Among managed pubs, London remains the brightest spot. In February drink-led pubs and bars in the capital enjoyed a 2.7% like-for-like boost against the same period last year,” he added. Trading in pubs outside the M25 was essentially flat.

Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, part of The Coffer Group, said: As the Coffer Peach Tracker matures, we get to see a clearer picture of how the sector is evolving over a longer time frame. Corporate pub and restaurant operators are growing their business faster outside the M25 with many more openings because site availability is better. However, as more and more companies announce ambitious expansions plans, we are seeing more intense competition for new sites throughout the country. Within the M25 trading conditions are marginally better than in outer parts of the country, although the rate of new openings is somewhat slower simply because of the lack of sites.”

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at Baker Tilly, added: “The eating and drinking out industry has continued its positive run well into the New Year. Impressively total sales have uplifted significantly by 5.8% from last year, driven by new site openings and an improved demand environment. The sector’s capacity for job creation and tax generation singles it out as one of the shining light that is driving the UK’s economic growth prospects.”

Jarrod Castle, leisure analyst at UBS Investment Research, said: “Like-for-like growth for February at 1.6% was in line with January, but a deceleration compared to December’s 2.8% and November’s 3.4% rates. This leaves the 12-month moving average growth rate at 2.2%. The 12-month moving average inside the M25 is now 3.2%, while outside it is 1.9%.”

The Coffer Peach Tracker* industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 28 operating groups, and is recognised as the established industry benchmark.

Coffer Peach Business Tracker is powered by Demographix

About Coffer Peach Tracker
CGA Peach collects sales figures directly 30 leading companies. Participants include Mitchells & Butlers* (owner of Harvester, Toby, Browns, All Bar One etc), Pizza Hut, Whitbread (Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table), Pizza Express, Spirit Group (Flaming Grill, Fayre & Square), TGI Fridays, Tragus (Café Rouge, Bella Italia), Stonegate (Slug & Lettuce, Yates’), Marston’s, Gondola (Zizzi, ASK), Wagamama, YO! Sushi, Novus (Tiger Tiger), Fuller’s, Carluccio’s, Young’s, Living Ventures, Strada, Amber Taverns, Hall & Woodhouse, Gaucho, Las Iguanas, Intertain (Walkabout), Tattershall Castle Group, La Tasca, Giraffe, Loungers, Byron, Peach Pub Co and Le Bistrot Pierre.
*includes Orchid Pub Co acquisition