Managed pub and restaurant chains took a hit on sales in January due to the severe weather conditions.
According to figures submitted by 15 pub and restaurant companies to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, including Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread and Punch Pub Co, like-for-like sales dropped 5% in January on last year.
Total sales were down 3.2% on last year and 35% down on December's sales. The January dip brings to an end nine consecutive montsh of growth.
"With so many city centres feeling more like ghost towns it is perhaps surprising that the figures weren't worse," said Peter Martin of Peach Factory.
"It proves once again the major effect that bad weather can have on this sector."
A Peach Factory's Business Leaders' Survey, to be published later this week, shows that just under 50% of senior executives are fairly optimistic about the coming year, compared to a little over 20% who are fairly pessimistic and 30% who are neutral. The positive sentiment is strongest among food-led rather than drink-led businesses.
David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group, said: "The extreme weather conditions changed consumer patterns and downgraded turnover across the board in January, a month traditionally lacklustre in the trading calendar.
"The real effect of the discounting deals that the industry has seen in the last 18 months will surely come to surface soon and it will be interesting to see the impact it will have on the bottom line. The test of recovery will be in the next quarter's results."
Richard Hathaway, head of Travel, Leisure and Tourism at KPMG, added: "However, January 2010 aside, considering the severity of the downturn over the past 12 months the leading pub and restaurant groups have proven to be very resilient in the circumstances. Even in the weaker months, trading hasn't been as bad as could have been expected."