Leading operators experience Easter weekend sales dip

By Mark Wingett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Like-for-like sales, Easter

Sales were down 3.8% over the Easter weekend
Sales were down 3.8% over the Easter weekend
Like-for-like sales declined 3.8% over the Easter weekend across 25 leading pub and restaurant groups against the corresponding four-day holiday last year, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Following 12 consecutive months of sales growth, total sales, including the impact of new openings, were 1.1% below Easter 2013.

“The results will be a little disappointing, but need to be put in context. Last Easter saw bumper trading after a terrible winter, and this year the holiday was later and also came during a generally more buoyant period for the eating and drinking-out market,” said Peter Martin of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker.

“However, they are also a reminder that sales growth, and the recovery, cannot be guaranteed and competition for the consumer pound remains fierce. Easter last year saw like-for-like sales up 7% on the year before, with better weather after a bleak March bringing consumers out of their homes, with restaurants the main beneficiaries then. So we perhaps shouldn’t have expected to match that this time.

Restaurants

However, 2014 was still up on 2012,” said Martin, who noted that pub groups had generally seen a smaller Easter decline than restaurant chains.

“The better weather this year has meant the market generally has been trading up on last year – with collective like-for-like sales up 4.6% in March, for example, making it the 12th month in succession to record positive growth.

“Looking at the long-term year-on-year trend, like-for-like sales at the end of March were running 2.4% up of the previous 12 months, and with all of Easter trading, even if a little down on last year, going into April’s numbers, unlike last year, we should be optimistic that the underlying upward trend will continue,” said Martin.

Weather

Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “Weaker like-for-likes this year highlight that Easter 2013 saw better weather, after the miserable snow-hit winter, and that the pent up demand this caused resulted in a bumper trading period for operators. However, these figures don’t reflect what we have been seeing generally and it is, therefore important that they are considered in the wider context of the market. Consumer spending on food and drink is in long-term growth. This reflects the changing habits of consumers as well as a country’s wider economy and we expect spectacular growth for the remainder of this year.”

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at Baker Tilly, said: “With Easter falling at the end of the school holidays, it was always going to be very challenging to match last year’s comparatives. Despite these results, 12 months of positive growth is a clear demonstration that the eating and drinking out market is in robust health.”

Related topics: Other operators

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