Like-for-like sales across pubs and restaurants fell by 1.2% year-on-year in April, but the results were still in upturn from a disastrous snow-hit March.
The Coffer Peach Business Tracker showed that London fared better than the rest of Britain in April with like-for-likes up a marginal 0.2% compared to a 1.6% fall outside the M25. There was little difference between pubs and restaurants which saw falls of 1.2% and 1.1% respectively.
Karl Chessell, business unit director of food and retail at CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM, said an early Easter was partly responsible for the figures.
He explained: “Easter, which is always a busy time for the eating and drinking out market, last year fell in mid-April, while this time it straddled March and April. This will certainly have had an effect on sales comparisons and looks to have outweighed the boost to trade that the hot-spell at the end of the month will have brought to the pub sector, in particular.
“The only good news is that April trading was much better than the disastrous, snow-hit trading seen in March, when sector like-for-like sales tumbled 3.1%. The overall feeling is that we are in an essentially flat market.”
David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group added: “The results reflect the general feeling of political and economic uncertainty translating into a stay at home mentality. We believe, however, the recent change in the weather and the royal wedding feel good factor will lift the mood nationally and hopefully lead into a stronger summer.
Underlying like-for-like growth for the 39 companies in the tracker cohort was running at just 0.4% for the 12 months to the end of April.