Managed pub groups have bumper Easter

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Cracking results: data reveals managed pub groups enjoyed the Easter period
Cracking results: data reveals managed pub groups enjoyed the Easter period
Pub groups traded well over the Easter holiday weekend, the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker has revealed.

Its data showed that collective like-for-like sales for the four days of Easter were up 5.9% compared to the Easter weekend last year for both managed pub and restaurant groups.

In contrast, like-for-likes across the sector fell 3.1% in March against the same month last year. 

Snow in March hit trading across the pub and casual-dining market, with London like-for-likes down 4.3% and outside the M25 down 2.7%.

Managed pubs fared better than restaurants but were still hit with a 2% decline in like-for-likes compared to 5% for restaurant chains.

“It was a month to forget, with the only slight cheer coming for managed pubs outside of London which benefited by people staying at home and away from work when the snow fell,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA​, that produces the report, in partnership with Coffer Group​ and RSM.

Instant relief

“Overall, March was bad news, so the uplift in sales over Easter weekend brought almost instant relief. Again, all parts of the market benefited,” added Martin.

Restaurant chains saw the biggest Easter uplift, with like-for-likes up 8% compared to the same four-day, Good Friday to Easter Monday, period last year. Pub group collective like-for-likes were ahead 4.6%.

“But it’s also worth remembering that Easter 2017 was not good for the market, with sales down on 2016, due to it falling late in April and being disjointed from school holidays in parts of the country. This year it wasn’t,” he added.

Davis Coffer Lyons executive director of valuations Trevor Watson said: "It is best not to draw too many conclusions from the March statistics as the adverse weather nationwide makes any meaningful comparison difficult."

Active market

“The Easter performance is, however, a lot stronger than many commentators might have predicted. We continue to see good demand for the right sites and the market continues to be active against a background of squeezed margins.”

RSM head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman said: “March was a brutal trading month for the eating and drinking-out sector.

"The ‘Beast from the East’ persuaded people to forsake their local restaurant or hostelry for the warmth of home and delivery was unable to make up the shortfall. Although the weather was a big factor, these faltering like-for-like sales are also a clear indicator that the underlying spending power of the consumer continues to waver.”

Underlying like-for-like growth for the companies in the tracker, which represent both large and small groups, was running at 0.8% for the 12 months to the end of March, down from 1.1% at the end of February.

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

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