North-west pub operator Cains has admitted that good weather in May boosted trade for its pubs - even before the second bank holiday of the month.
Pubs that have suffered from the impact of the smoking ban and the downturn in consumer spending in recent months have cited the bad summer weather in 2007, which saw flooding in the South-West of England and Yorkshire, as a reason for the poor performance of the pub market.
Cains chairman Roy Morris told investors last week that while the year to date had been "challenging" the performance has been "encouraging since the start of May following the recent good weather".
Pub operators will look for continued good weather over the current bank holiday weekend. Last year operators saw an increase in sales in April following a month of good weather and two Easter bank holidays.
Mark Brumby, analyst at Blue Oar Securities, said that the absence of good weather and bank holidays in April this year could lead to a decline in beer volumes across the industry of 16% but May was looking "much, much better".
He also warned that the absence of the Home Nations in the Euro 2008 championships could lead to a challenging summer.
By Christopher Walton
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