Managed pubs provide bright spot despite sales growth slowdown

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Pubs shine: poor weather has slowed managed hospitality sales (credit: Getty/LeoPatrizi)
Pubs shine: poor weather has slowed managed hospitality sales (credit: Getty/LeoPatrizi)

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Sales growth slowed at managed pubs in October due to poor weather, including Storm Babet.

However, October marked the 13th​ month in a row of like-for-like growth for the managed pubs, bars and restaurants sector as it reached 3.2% – 2.7% percentage points down from 5.9% growth in September when better weather encouraged people to come out.

The statistics from CGA RSM Hospitality Business Tracker also found October sales were also affected by the start of Storm Ciaran.

The tracker showed a brighter month for pubs, with fans watching the Rugby World Cup helping to lift sales 5.0% above October 2022.

Difficult month for bars

Meanwhile, restaurants had a softer month with growth of only 2.7% while the bar segment endured another difficult month, with sales down by 7.8%.

For the 18th consecutive month, groups achieved better growth in London than the rest of the country as like-for-like sales within the M25 rose 4.8%, compared to 2.7% elsewhere.

Karl Chessell, director - hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ, said: “Thirteen successive months of year-on-year growth amid a cost of living crisis is encouraging but there is no escaping the fact that rises are being driven by price rises and remain below inflation.

“The weather made for challenging trading conditions in many parts of the country, offsetting boosts from occasions like the Rugby World Cup and Halloween. Consumer demand for hospitality remains high but venues will have to be at the top of their game to achieve real-terms growth over the crucial run-in to Christmas.”

Call on Chancellor to step up

RSM UK head of leisure and hospitality Paul Newman said: “With poor weather in October to blame for much of the slowdown in eating and drinking-out growth, the sector will be desperate to see an end to the wet weather that has continued to hamper sales in the first half of November.

“The lead-up to Christmas is a key trading period for hospitality but economic headwinds are dampening festive plans.

“Cuts to corporate-funded Christmas parties combined with consumers tightening purse strings, the continued threat of rail strikes and the looming end to business rates support in March will come together to create considerable financial strain on businesses in the months ahead.

“The Chancellor needs to step up and use the Autumn Statement to provide renewed support for the hospitality sector, which could otherwise see a swath of jobs being lost in the new year.”

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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