Like-for-like sales in managed pubs and restaurant groups slumped by 1.8% year on year in January after a strong Christmas showing, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Both pub and restaurant operators saw a negative sales increase in the period, with pubs experiencing a like-for-likes drop of 1.4% while the decline in restaurants covered by the tracker sat at 2.5%.
There also appeared to be no dramatic difference between London-based enterprises and those outside the capital – the city’s sales dropped by 1.9%, while those outside the M25 fell by 1.7%.
Karl Chessell, director of CGA, said: “After strong trading over the festive season, which saw sector like-for-like sales 4.1% up on 2017, operators will be disappointed that there has been no follow-through into January – even though the weather, and in particular the lack of snow early in the month, was better than last year.
“However, it is worth remembering that January is always a relatively quiet month. The first big test of the year for the market is the February half-term holidays, then Easter – although this year Brexit is bringing more anxiety for the industry.”
The only sector covered by the tracker with a pronounced difference was between pubs and restaurants within the M25 – managed pubs saw sales decline by just 0.5%, while restaurant sales fell dramatically by 4.1%
Chessell added: “Branded restaurant operators continue to have a tougher time than pubs, despite many closing underperforming sites in the last year, and that is most marked inside the M25 where competition is more intense and consumers are more likely to look for, and find, somewhere new to try out,”