Recognised as an industry benchmark, the Coffer Peach Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses monthly performance data for 38 operating groups - including the likes of Mitchells & Butlers, Whitbread, Stonegate, Fuller’s, Young’s and the New World Trading Company from the pub industry.
Pub groups produced the best year-on-year figures, with a collective increase of 2.8%, though figures also revealed a positive spell for restaurant chains, which saw like-for-like sales grow by 1.2%.
Traders outside of London also found reasons to be positive in the latest Coffer Peach release, with year-on-year November sales outside the M25 increasing 2.7% compared to 0.9% in the capital.
Peter Martin, vice president of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, commented: “November’s numbers will be welcome news for a sector that has been hit hard this year, with rising cost pressures across property, people and food, all squeezing operational margins.
“For the first time in years, managed pub and bar groups are opening new sites at a faster rate than casual-dining companies.”
Total sales across the 38 hospitality companies in the Tracker grew by 5.9% compared to November last year.
Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations, at Davis Coffer Lyons, commented: “It seems the reduced rate of new restaurant openings is helping to sustain like-for-like comparisons. The figures are somewhat stronger than some commentators were fearing, which will hopefully translate to some pleasing results over the festive period and that there will be some reasons to be cheerful as we enter the busiest trading season.
“The figures are a particular relief for restaurant operators, who over the last two years have seen their underlying like-for-like growth rate cut by more than half due to competition from start-ups concepts and new brands that have increased choice for consumers in UK market towns and major cities.”
Respite for operators
Underlying like-for-like growth for the sector, for the year to the end of November, remained unchanged at 1.2%, with total sales growth over the 12 months at 4.1%.
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “The upbeat November results will have provided some respite for hard-pressed operators in the run up to Christmas.
As the economic squeeze on living costs sees the emergence of a more cost-conscious consumer, it will be interesting to see which operators break rank to hike menu prices. With the all-important festive trading season in full swing, the sector will be looking to claw back lost margin to shore up finances ahead of the tougher first quarter of the New Year.”