'Resilient' drinks-led businesses lead boost in sector sales

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Resilience shown: drinks-led businesses were ahead of restaurants for sales in January
Resilience shown: drinks-led businesses were ahead of restaurants for sales in January
The success of drinks-led businesses in January drove collective managed pub and restaurant like-for-like sales in January up 0.6%, according to data from Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Results: January


Total sales: +4.0%

Like-for-like sales: +1%


Total sales: +3.3%

Like-for-like sales: 0%


Total sales: +3.7%

Like-for-like sales: +0.6%

Britain’s managed pub and restaurant chains saw collective like-for-like sales come out slightly ahead in January, despite the "doom and gloom stories surrounding the eating-out market", CGA, co-producer of the report, said.

While restaurant groups across the country collectively recorded flat trading for the first month of 2018, managed pub operators were up 1% nationally, driven mainly by drink-led businesses. Best figures were recorded in London, up 1.6%, while like-for-likes raised 0.4% outside the M25. 

Last week, Barclaycard also published encouraging figures for the pub industry, which revealed that spending in pubs through January saw double-digit growth​, with consumers "splashing out" on the experience economy.

Relatively stable

“A string of site closures announced by some of the sector’s more high-profile, casual-dining brands has done little to bolster confidence in the sector lately, but these latest figures suggest that, overall, the market remains relatively stable," said Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Business Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

"People are continuing to go out to eat and drink, but that doesn’t disguise the fact that the market is experiencing increasing cost pressures on a number of fronts and that competition is intense.

"Consumers have more choice than ever. Brands that may have over-extended themselves are now feeling the pain."

However, Tate said because January is one of the quietest months of the year, and also one usually most affected by weather, the sector usually has to wait until later in the year to discover any real shifts in the market.

Drinks-led resilience

“Notwithstanding an increasing number of disposals and receiverships occurring mainly in the restaurant sector, these Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures for January show a degree of resilience against trend especially in drinks-led businesses,” said David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group.

“As it is traditional for consumers to seek out such venues during a recessionary or challenging political and economic period, we feel that this trend will continue and that there will be further growth in the drinks-led sector and also a recovery in well-run, sophisticated restaurant brands.

"It is interesting to note that the drink-led businesses, which are comparatively more productive, are those that are managed."

Coffer added: "There are still challenges to be dealt with especially property rates and the stabilising of employment from Brexit-affected countries. It still remains a difficult period for the food and beverage sector but the outlook still remains optimistic and positive."

The Coffer Peach Business Tracker industry sales monitor for the UK pub and restaurant sector collects and analyses performance data from 39 operating groups, and is recognised as the established industry benchmark. 

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