Restaurant, pub and bar groups enjoyed a boost to the six weeks of festive trading in 2019 with like-for-like sales up by 2.5%, according to the monthly Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Trading was positive across all parts of the market in the period to 5 January 2020, with pub and bar groups leading the way with sales up by 2.7%. Restaurant groups saw a 2.3% increase in sales.
Total sales over the six-week festive period, including the effect of new openings since the same period in 2018, were up by 5.4%.
Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business consultancy that publishes the data in partnership with the Coffer Group and RSM, said the new figures were a welcome boost for operators after a challenging year in the eating and drinking-out market.
"These results underline the fact that the public still wants to go out to enjoy themselves over the holiday period, but also emphasise how important this time of year is to the health of the market, and that operators have to keep creating good reasons for people to go out," he said.
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: "With consumer confidence finally improving, brands will look to carry this sales momentum into the New Year by capitalising on the trends for veganuary and alcohol-alternative drinks without resorting to heavy discounting."
Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, explained that there was a post-election sense of optimism. "This year, we are starting to see cautious confidence in the market, although expect any uplift in trade and consumer confidence will be steady rather than spectacular. We expect market activity in 2020 to see an increase on 2019 levels."
The Coffer Peach Tracker is compiled from the data provided by 57 of the UK's leading restaurant, pub and pub groups, including Casual Dining Group (Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Las Iguanas), Greene King (Chef & Brewer, Farmhouse Inns, Hungry Horse ) PizzaExpress and Wagamama.
Revolution Bars Group confirmed the results of the tracker with a buoyant trading update published today for the 26 weeks to 28 December.
Like-for-like sales for the operator of the Revolution and Revolucion de Cuba brands, covering Christmas and the New Year, rose by 4%, with weekly sales averaging £65,000 per venue. Total like-for-like revenue for the 26 weeks to 28 December was up 1.2%, while total sales rose by 3.4% to £81.2m.
Three under-performing Revolution bars were closed during the period in Swansea, Wood Street in Liverpool, and Macclesfield.