Like-for-like sales at the country's top pub and restaurant groups fell 1.2% in May on last year as trading remains tough.
Companies taking part in the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, including Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread, Pizza Hut, Punch Pub Co, Gondola and Tragus, collectively saw sales drop — some of which is attributed to school half term fell in the first week of June this year.
Total sales, including those from new openings, were 0.3% ahead of last year. Month-on-month, May's sales were down -18.2% against April, which had the benefit of Easter. Like-for-like figures have been up and down all year, according to the tracker.
"We repeat our view that It is going to be a long haul and staying largely in-line with last year is probably no disgrace, as at least the leading groups are continuing to out-perform the eating-out market as a whole," said Peach Factory's Peter Martin.
Jonathan Leinster, head of European leisure and tobacco research, at UBS Investment Bank, said: "We are forecasting that consumer expenditure will turn positive this year, but progress will be slow. In that environment, like-for-like growth in pub- restaurants whose brands are strong enough to resist promotions and offer their customers everyday value, are likely to take share."
Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: "These numbers demonstrate that the sector overall is finding trade tough. With multiples still taking trade from independents, overall business will be further down than these numbers show. The summer weather and World Cup fever has much to deliver especially to bar operators."
Richard Hathaway, head of Travel, Leisure and Tourism at KPMG added: "Increasing sales is a challenge in such a competitive market, particularly with consumer confidence still fragile. Better collection and greater use of customer data and loyalty schemes, so effective for the retail sector, can however help operators improve further the effectiveness of marketing and drive more sales out of their existing customer base."