Pubs and bars outside of London remained the weakest part of the market, according to the report, produced by CGA Peach with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS, with lfl sales essentially flat, as they were for September.
Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, said: “Managed pubs in London had a particularly good month, as they have had for most of the year. Casual dining chains in the capital also traded strongly. But while the London market is getting better same-store growth, the chains, and in particular casual dining brands, are increasingly investing in opening new sites outside the M25.
“That expansion is reflected in the total sales growth across the 29 restaurant, bar and pub companies in the Tracker sample. Nationally, total sales were ahead 5.7% on last October, with restaurant group sales up 11% on a year ago outside of London, largely as a result of that extra site capacity.”
'Steady and consistent growth'
Martin said overall there was steady and consistent growth in eating and drinking out, which now stretches back 19 months.
He added: “Looking at the underlying trend, the year-on-year like-for-like rate is running at 2.9% up on 2013, with London up 3.7%.”
Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The October figures highlight that, in the corporate casual dining market, the rate of new store opening is significantly greater away from London, largely because of greater availability of sites and the improved returns available in these areas.
“The London market is vibrant with rents at record levels, with overseas and independent operators dominating. This is typical for this phase of the cycle. Trading performance continues to be strong both in the capital and across the country as economic recovery strengthens and the prospects of an imminent interest rate rise recede.”
'Managed leading the way'
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at Baker Tilly, said: “As we turn towards the longer, colder evenings, it is the managed pub chains that still appear to be leading the way and we expect to see this run of form continue into the winter months. Innovative fit outs incorporating comfortable surroundings with a wide selection of craft beers together with a quality food offering is driving this resurgence, particularly within London and larger cities around the UK.”
Jarrod Castle, leisure analyst at UBS Investment Research, said: “LFL sales growth for October was the same as September at 2.2%, compared to 1.3% for August, 2.2% in July and 0.4% in June. This is a consistent story and leaves the 12-month moving average growth rate at 2.9%, up from 2.4% September. Once again strongest LFL growth was within the M25 and more importantly it is accelerating.”