18 January 2016

Pub and restaurant groups beat 2014 festive trading performance

Total Like For Like Sales Growth

• Christmas and New Year like-for-like sales up 1.8% on 2014

• Drink-led pubs and bars see best of the seasonal uplift

Pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales increase 1.8% over the six-week Christmas and New Year period. Latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show that after a slow start most of the uplift came in the last two weeks of the festive season.

The data covers the six weeks up to January 3, with little difference seen in the performance of London against the rest of the country. Best performers were drink-led managed pub and bar businesses, which collectively saw a 3.1% like-for-like increase over the same period last year. Restaurant groups generally enjoyed a smaller uplift, with the best trading outside of London.

“Perhaps the most interesting feature was that the big increases in sales were all seen in just the last two weeks, which included the Christmas and New Year holidays, when like-for-like sales were up by over 4.5% on 2014 in each week,” 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.

“The run-up was slow, and even negative in the last week of November, but built up into a crescendo in the two weeks when many people were off work,” added Martin. “Although the overall 1.8% increase over the entire period was less than the 2.8% increase seen last year on 2013, it is still a generally performance, as the market as a whole has slowed since last year. Competition is increasing across the board.”

Among the 30 companies that make up the Tracker cohort, total sales for the festive period, which include the impact of new openings, were ahead 5.2% nationally on last year.

The underlying long-term trend shows that like-for-like sales for the whole 12 months of 2015, up to the end of December, were ahead 1.5% on 2014.

Mark Sheehan, Managing Director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said, “Restaurant and pub groups reported another bumper festive period with very strong growth even against good LFL’s in 2014. However, looking ahead we do predict a tougher 2016 with a marked downturn in consumer confidence and strong competition in the sector from the many expanding restaurant, bar and pub groups. Notwithstanding, overall we continue to expect growth ahead of inflation in most parts of the country and the various sub sectors.” 

Adam Spencer, Associate Director at RSM UK, added:The wettest December in over a century failed to dampen desire of the UK public to eat and drink out. Headline growth continues to remain strongest outside of the M25, where rents are significantly lower and more accommodating councils have recognised the wider benefits that a varied food and drink destination can bring to a community. Our chief concern is that continued wet weather, the proliferation of ‘dry January’ and stock market turbulence will impact the current month and negate any gains made over the festive period.”

Jarrod Castle, leisure analyst at UBS Investment Research, observed: “The year ended positively, with the 12-month moving average growth rate coming in at 1.7%. While overall London outperformed the regions, trading in chain restaurants was toughest in London. While the end to the year should reassure, the start to the new year remains uncertain.”

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. CGA Peach is part of CGA Strategy.

About Coffer Peach Business Tracker

CGA Peach collects sales figures directly 30 leading companies. Participants include Mitchells & Butlers (owner of Harvester, Toby, Miller & Carter, 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, La Tasca, Las Iguanas), 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, Intertain (Walkabout), Giraffe, Loungers, Byron, Peach Pub Co, Le Bistrot Pierre, Laine Pub Co and Downing LLP (investment partner of Antic London)