Like for like sales in restaurants and pubs remained flat in May, according to Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Its analysis of sales figures from 35 hospitality companies, including Mitchells & Butlers, PizzaExpress and TGI Friday’s, has found that sales were 0.4% down on May 2016. Trading in London fared slightly better, with like-for-likes up 0.1%.
The figures follow a 4.4% increase in April, but CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin said that the flat market wouldn’t be of great concern to operators, who were more anxious about input costs.
He added: “Eating and drinking out has proved resilient, with the public continuing to go out even through the last downturn.
“The problem hasn’t been so much consumer confidence but business confidence, with mounting cost pressures on operators from rising wages, business rates and food costs. The latest fall in sterling following the general election result will only add to that.”
Restaurant chains did marginally better than pub groups in May, with flat like-for-like sales compared to a 0.7% decline across managed pubs.
The 35 companies in the tracker recorded sales growth of 2.4%, with underlying annual sales like for likes running 1.3% ahead for the 12 months to the end of May.
Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said that pre-election jitters will likely have weighed on consumer confidence.
“Worries over the uncertainty created by a hung parliament, a fraught Brexit process and fears surrounding terrorist attacks could deter some consumers, particularly from visiting city centre restaurants, although stay-cations may offset this in some parts of the country,” he said. “A weak pound will also help. There are continued headwinds in the eating-out market and despite these numbers the pub sector is generally trading stronger.”
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