Drink sales were the driving force behind a small year-on-year uptick for pubs and restaurant chains in November.
Pubs saw drink sales increase by 1.1% year-on-year, while food sales shrunk by 0.2%, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
An apparent fall in eating out was reflected in a 0.1% decrease in restaurant group like-for-like sales. Collectively, the sector saw combined sales grow by 0.5%.
Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Coffer Peach Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM, said: "The figures show that much of that growth was driven by drinks sales, with eating out in pubs as well as restaurants under pressure.
“Also, school half-term holidays at the start of the month produced a healthy first week of trading, and without that we would have been looking at negative sales across the board for the month."
“The data suggests a lacklustre market in the run-up to the general election and Christmas,” added Trevor Watson, executive director valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons.
“In London, operators are hoping and expecting there to be no significant impact on leisure spend as a result of the latest terror incident in the capital. Operators everywhere are hoping that the general election will revive consumer confidence generally in the final run-up to Christmas and the New Year festivities. This could lead to much-needed favourable December figures."
Underlying like-for-like growth for the tracker cohort, which represents both large and small operators, was running at 1.6% for the 12 months to the end of November, which is just below the 1.7% registered at the end of October.