October sales see pubs and bars fare better than restaurants

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

More choosy: Britain’s managed pub, bar and restaurant groups like-for-like sales are up 0.3% against last October
More choosy: Britain’s managed pub, bar and restaurant groups like-for-like sales are up 0.3% against last October

Related tags: Restaurant

Industry insiders have warned the festive trading season could be "the difference between survival or failure" across Britain’s managed pub, bar and restaurant groups with like-for-like sales up just 0.3% against last October, the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.

According to the tracker, pubs and bars fared better than restaurants, with like-for-like sales up 1.4% against October last year, while restaurant groups saw a collective 1.5% sales decline nationally.

Restaurants in London were worst hit, suffering a 2.1% fall in same store sales during the month, coming on the back of a 3.2% decline in September.

“October’s flat trading was at least better than the 0.9% decline the market experienced in September, and is more in line with the trend we have seen across the summer," said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA, the business-insight consultancy that produces the tracker.

"The truth is that we are seeing little or no growth in the eating-and-drinking-out market.

“This is not to say people have stopped going out – they haven’t. Eating and drinking out is still what the British public like to do, but they are not spending any more or going out any more often. But with more choice of where to go than ever before they are becoming more choosy and trying new places".

Industry pressures

Martin said this could still affect business confidence in the sector, however.

"With inflation running at 3%, sales are effectively going backwards, and with cost pressures in the industry, around food inflation and people in particular, still rising, times are tough for operators,” he continued.

RSM head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman added: “It’s a second month of poor like-for-like sales for the sector, with casual-dining groups being particularly hit.

"Consumers are continuing to choose to spend on ‘big ticket’ experiences such as holidays, sporting and entertainment events, as their budgets get squeezed further.

"Operators will be desperate to see a reversal of this trend throughout the all-important festive trading season. For some, it could be the difference between survival or failure as we move into the New Year.”

Related topics: Marketing

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