12 August 2019

Pub and restaurant groups see steady sales growth in July

Total Like For Like Sales Growth
  • Collective like-for-like sales up 1.2% against last July
  • Restaurant chains recover after poor summer of 2018

Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales grow 1.2% in July against the same time last year, with restaurant chains recovering strongly after a poor summer in 2018, latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

Restaurant groups saw like-for-like sales up a healthy 3.8% against last July, when trading was hit by hot weather and World Cup football. Managed pubs, which had a bumper July because of the World Cup and the sunny weather, saw sales slip back this July, but only to -0.2%.

“Considering the barnstorming July that pubs had last year, holding relatively steady this July will be seen as a good performance, and restaurant groups will be more than relieved with their sales recovery,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

 “These figures are very much ‘steady as she goes’ for both the pub and restaurant sectors. Pub like-for-likes were always going to be challenging against a World Cup year and the exceptional weather of 2018. Decent weather in 2019 as well has no doubt helped sustain performance on the wet-led side. We continue to see very good results from quality operators with good demand for new sites across the country from both established and emerging operators across both sectors,” said Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons.

“Following a good showing in June when collective like-for-likes across the sector grew 1.4%, the eating and drinking-out market is showing some resilience. Nevertheless, with Brexit looming, there will be real nervousness about a crash in autumn,” Chessell added.

Regionally, trading outside of the M25 was slightly better than in London, up 1.3% against a 1.0%. Restaurants had a better time outside of London, up 4.3% against 2.4%, while pubs held up better in London, with like-for-like growth of 0.1% against a 0.3% decline outside.

Total sales across the 54 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 3.6% compared to last July.

“While managed pub groups continue to expand slowly, during July, restaurant groups registered more closures than openings,” observed Chessell.

Saxon Moseley, senior manager at RSM, said, “Sustained like-for-like growth will come as welcome news to Britain’s restaurant groups and provides further evidence that supply is reaching parity with demand. With pubs and bars buoyed by a summer heatwave in July, operators will be hoping for more good weather to stave off consumer uncertainty around Brexit.”

Underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 1.8% for the 12 months to the end of July, up from 1.6% at the end of June.

The Coffer Peach Tracker is the established industry benchmark and sales monitor for the UK pub, bar and restaurant sector, collecting and analysing performance data from 54 operating groups, with a combined turnover of over £9bn.

 Participating companies receive a fuller detailed breakdown of monthly trading. To join the cohort, contact Andrew Dean, Andrew.Dean@cga.co.uk