Sales at pubs drop in July

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Slight slip: managed pub groups saw sales decrease slightly last month (July) versus the same period in 2018
Slight slip: managed pub groups saw sales decrease slightly last month (July) versus the same period in 2018
Managed pub groups saw like-for-like sales slip by 0.2% in July, against the same period last year, new research has revealed.

The latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker put this down to managed pubs having a bumper July last year thanks the football World Cup and the sunny weather.

It also found restaurant groups saw like-for-like sales were up by 3.8% against last July, which meant managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales rise by 1.2% in July against the same period in 2018.

CGA director Karl Chessell said: “Considering the barnstorming July pubs had last year, holding relatively steady this July will be seen as a good performance and restaurant groups will be more than relieved with their sales recovery.

“These figures are very much ‘steady as she goes’ for the pub and restaurant sectors. Pub like-for-like [sales] were always going to be challenging against a World Cup year and the exceptional weather of 2018.

“Following a good showing in June when collective like-for-like [sales] across the sector grew 1.4%, the eating and drinking-out market is showing some resilience. Nevertheless, with Brexit looming, there will be real nervousness about a crash in autumn.”

Quality operators

Davis Coffer Lyons executive director of valuations Trevor Watson said the decent weather in 2019 had helped sustain performance on the wet-led side.

He added: “We continue to see very good results from quality operators with good demand for new sites across the country from established and emerging operators across both sectors.”

The research also looked at regions and found trading outside of the M25 was slightly better than in London, up 1.3% against 1% last year, collectively.

Restaurants had a better time outside of the capital – up 4.3% versus 2.4% in 2018, while pubs held up better in London with like-for-like growth of 0.1% against a 0.3% decline outside.

Consumer uncertainty

Total sales across the 54 businesses in the tracker, which include the impact of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead by 3.6%, compared to last July.

Chessell said: “While managed pub groups continue to expand slowly, during July, restaurant groups registered more closures than openings.”

RSM senior manager Saxon Moseley said sustained like-for-like growth would come as welcome news for the UK’s restaurant groups and provided further evidence supply is reaching parity with demand.

He added: “With pubs and bars buoyed by a summer heatwave in July, operators will be hoping for more good weather to stave off consumer uncertainty around Brexit.”

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