Restaurant and pub groups back in sales growth in April

May 14, 2015

• April like-for-likes up 1.2% on 2014
• Follows weaker trading in March

The managed pub and restaurant sector returned to like-for-like growth in April after a brief dip in March, according to latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures. Collective like-for-likes among the 30 companies in the Tracker were up 1.2% on the same month last year.

The uplift followed a slight 0.3% decline in sector like-for-likes in March. April’s numbers benefitted from strong trading over the four-day Easter break, when like-for-like sales were up 5.1% on last year.

Total sales in April among the cohort were ahead 5.2%, reflecting the continued roll-out of new sites especially outside of London.

“The eating and drinking-out market remains a good news story, but recent figures, suggest it may be getting a little harder to win extra sales,” 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.

“Underlying like-for-like growth appears to be slowing compared to the end of last year, so it will be interesting to see how the public reacts next month now that the uncertainty of the general election has gone and the summer begins,” Martin added.

On a same store basis, London performed marginally better than the rest of the country in April with like-for-likes over the month up 1.4% against a 1.2% increase outside the M25.

Best performers were restaurant brands outside of London, which saw like-for-likes grow 3%, followed by pubs in London where like-for-likes were ahead 2.3% on last year. Overall, restaurant groups’ like-for-likes were up 1.9%, which managed pubs ahead 1.0%.

Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The total sales growth of 5.2% shows just how fast the restaurant sector is growing in comparison with other parts of the UK economy. The new Government has made it clear that it will seek to re-balance the UK economy away from London and the South East, which can only be good for the sector. There was evidence that election uncertainty held back some business decisions, however, with that now behind us we expect the market to continue to thrive during the summer months.”

Paul Newman, head of leisure & hospitality at Baker Tilly, added: “These positive like-for-likes dispel concern that political uncertainty before a closely fought election would damage consumer confidence. Sunny weather, falling fuel prices and politicians talking up the economy have come together in April to encourage consumers to continue their spending on eating and drinking-out up and down the country.”

Jarrod Castle, leisure analyst at UBS Investment Research, observed: “April trading was boosted by a strong Easter, with like-for-like sales growth of 5.1% for the Easter weekend. We estimate that given the strong trading over the Easter, these numbers imply the rest of the month saw LFL growth of less than 1%. However, it is also worth remembering that before March’s LFL decline of -0.3%, the market had enjoyed a run of 23 consecutive months of positive LFL growth.”

The Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data from 30 operating groups, and is recognised as the established industry benchmark.

About Coffer Peach Business 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, Casual Dining Group (Café Rouge, Bella Italia), Stonegate (Slug & Lettuce, Yates’), Marston’s, Azzurri Restaurants (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), TCG, La Tasca, Giraffe, Loungers, Byron, Peach Pub Co, Gaucho and Le Bistrot Pierre. *includes Orchid Pub Co acquisition

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