Britain's big pub and restaurant groups have enjoyed a strong end to the year, with like-for-like sales up again in November by 2.1%.
It is the sixth month running that the eating and drinking-out-of-home market has seen positive trading. Total sales, including the effect of new openings, were up by 6.2% on November 2010.
The figures come from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which records monthly performance across 24 major pub and restaurant operators.
"Although below the headline rate of inflation, the figures demonstrate the underlying resilience of the market and that the public still want to out to eat and drink", said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the business intelligence specialist that produces the tracker, in partnership with KPMG, UBS and the Coffer Group.
In contrast, the retail sector in November suffered its worst performance for six months, according to the British Retail Consortium/KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. UK retail sales values fell 1.6% on a like-for-like basis. Total sales were up just 0.7%.
"Going out to eat and drink seems to be the affordable treat that people are unwilling to give up," added Martin.
Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: "Pub and restaurant sales continue to hold up, although, as confirmed in the Punch Taverns announcement on Friday, there is very much a north/south divide.
"Restaurants are competing against heavy discounting a year ago, while in the managed pub sector sales are generally strong, albeit against a low base in 2010. Although the outlook is uncertain and operators are certainly being conservative with budgets, these figures show a relatively robust sector.
"There has been a raft of new restaurant and bar openings in London this quarter, not only with Westfield but in many central locations, and adding these sales we are seeing resilient consumer spending in the hospitality sector overall."
By Neil Gerrard
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