Like-for-like sales growth across the managed pub, bar and restaurant sector slowed to just 0.2% in August, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
London had a particularly poor month, with like-for-like sales down 1.6%, while the rest of the country saw a 0.8% increase on August 2016.
The overall figures are down on the 0.6% increases recorded in June and July.
Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM, said that the wet weather contributed to the figures with restaurant chains, which do better in poor weather, seeing a collective 1.1% increase for the month against a 0.3% decline among pub and bar groups.
“What will worry operators is that this performance is lagging inflation, now edging up towards 3%, by some distance,” he added. “The underlying like-for-like trend for the 12 months up to the end of August is better, up 1.3% on the previous 12 month period, but that too is behind the inflationary curve.
Martin said that the sector was facing the challenge of having to absorb significant pressures around rising property costs and food inflation, some of which have been passed on to consumers.
“The one positive point is that consumers are still going out to eat and drink, and although sales are sluggish and hard fought for at least they are not suffering the way other parts of the economy are, such as car sales,” he added.
Total sales growth in August among the 37 companies which participate in the Tracker – including Carluccio’s, Pizza Express, the Restaurant Group and Young’s – was 3.5%, reflecting the continuing if more subdued effect of new openings over the year, but down on the 3.7% seen in July.
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