Rugby and half-term help boost October pub and restaurant sales

November 12, 2015

Britain’s eating and drinking-out sector saw sales pick up in October, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Collective like-for-like sales for managed pub and restaurant chains were up 2.5% against the same month last year, an improvement on the 1.2% growth seen in September. 

“It looks like a combination of the school half-term break and the final stages of the Rugby World Cup lifted sales, with London overall benefitting most,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM (formerly Baker Tilly) and UBS. 

London saw like-for-like sales up 3.8% on last October, while outside the M25 the increase was 2.1%. Total sales, including the impact of new openings, were ahead 6.1% nationally.

“Managed pubs overall enjoyed a 2.7% LFL increase, with London contributing most of that with a 6.2% jump, compared to a more modest 1.6% gain outside,” said Martin. “Much of that will undoubtedly be down to the rugby. Drink-led pubs did a bit better than food-led establishments, but even then both drink and food sales benefitted.

“The story for casual dining brands was almost the reverse, however, with national LFLs up 2.2%, and with London flat and the rest of the country up 3.4%. It looks like school holidays were a driver there,” he added.

Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “These like for likes are exceptional, when you consider the enormous impact the Rugby World Cup has had on the eating out market. Despite very low undying inflation we are seeing eating and drinking out operators trading well and the market expanding.

“The next few months, as consumers enjoy the festive period, will be crucial for the leisure industry and we expect further growth on last year’s spending levels, with operators continuing to outperform inflation.” 

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “October has provided an excellent set of numbers for eating and drinking out operators, again demonstrating the sector’s robust demand profile in the face of an increasingly uncertain world economic outlook. 

“Availability of sites in prime locations continues to be challenging although the past few months has seen a wave of commercial and transport development schemes reaching completion in cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. This has provided opportunities for operators with deeper pockets who can manage longer site maturity profiles and who will prove to be the likely winners over time.” 

Jarrod Castle, leisure analyst at UBS Investment Research, observed: “The 12-month moving average growth rate moderated to 1% for like-for-like sales, against September’s 1.3%, while total sales growth was 5.4%. That same moving average inside the M25, however, is now 1.6% for like-for-likes, while outside it is 0.8%.”