Pub and restaurant groups see slight sales growth in July

August 18, 2017

It’s steady as you go for Britain’s managed pub and
restaurant chains.

Latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show
that collective like-for-like sales were up by 0.6% across the sector in July
compared to the same month last year.

There was little difference between
trading inside and outside the M25, with London ahead 0.5%, compared to a 0.7%
like-for-like increase for the rest of the country. Restaurant chains just
edged ahead of pub groups in performance, showing a collective 0.9% like-for-like
growth rate against 0.4% for pub and bar operators.

“It’s an essentially flat market out
there, with the modest 0.6% growth rate exactly the same as we saw in June,”
said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA,
the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with
Coffer Group and RSM.

“Despite all the media talk of fragile
consumer confidence, it appears that the British are continuing to go out to
eat and drink much as they did last year – which is good news. However, the
increased cost pressures that operators across the sector are facing this year,
particularly from increases in business rates and food costs, mean that margins
are being squeezed and businesses are feeling the pinch,” added Martin.

“Operators have been looking for
efficiencies, but also increasing prices to mitigate rising costs. According to
CGA’s latest Business Confidence Survey this summer, over 80% of operators have
introduced at least some price rises this year, with a third implementing them
across the board. These latest Tracker trading figures show that those rises
haven’t stopped the public spending, but neither have they significantly
boosted income for operators. It remains a tough market,” he said.

Total sales growth in July among the 37
companies in the Tracker cohort was 3.7%, reflecting the continuing if more
subdued effect of new openings over the year. The underlying annual sales trend
shows sector like-for-likes running at 1.6% ahead for the 12 months to the end
of July.

“The market is
essentially stable, with little dynamic movement in any of the sub-markets,
geographically or by sector. The good weather in July should have benefitted
wet led venues which makes the relatively strong figures from the restaurant
sector encouraging,” said Trevor Watson,
executive director, valuations, at Davis
Coffer Lyons
.

“These
latest figures will be greeted with a degree of relief by operators. Despite
household budgets becoming increasingly stretched, consumers continue to
indulge in eating and drinking out. We’ve seen businesses who develop exciting
and affordable concepts outpacing competitors and attracting investors keen to
support ambitious roll out plans,” added
Paul Newman, head
of leisure and hospitality
at RSM UK.

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK
pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 37
operating groups, and is recognised as the established industry benchmark. CGA
Peach is part of CGA Strategy.