England's World Cup boosts pubs but restaurants pay penalty

16 July 2018 by
England's World Cup boosts pubs but restaurants pay penalty

The England football team's unlikely World Cup run meant that managed pubs enjoyed a strong boost in sales last month, although restaurants suffered.

Like-for-like sales at managed pubs increased 2.8% in June compared to the same month a year before, with the good weather also playing a role in the rise.

However, restaurant groups saw a 1.8% fall in trade, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which follows the progress of 45 pub and restaurant firms including Wagamama, PizzaExpress, Loungers and Yo! Sushi.

Overall, the combined managed pub, bar and restaurant sector saw like-for-likes up 1.1% in June.

"Better news is that the usual drop off in restaurant sales during good weather and big sporting events is not cancelling out the boost for pubs and bars. Overall the market is up, and that follows a 1.4% increase for the sector as a whole in May," he added.

Regionally London did better than the rest of the country in June, with pub sales up 3.7%, and restaurants down just 0.4%, compared to a 2.3% like-for-like decline outside the M25.

"Not surprisingly, drink-led pubs have performed particularly well, and across the managed pub market drink sales were ahead 5.1%, with food up only 0.3%, for the month," Martin added.

Meanwhile, Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, predicted a "bumper summer" for pubs and bars as they continue to take the lion's share of consumer spending.

"A month of sunshine and the World Cup may be good news for drinks led businesses but was always going to be tougher for food led operators. However, there will be a sense of optimism for many restaurants with the year on year fall at less than 2%" he said.

Underlying like-for-like growth for the 45 companies in the tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, is slowly improving after a tough period, running at 0.7% for the 12 months to the end of June, and up from 0.6% at the end of May.

"The consumer appears to be in more confident mood, buoyed up by a remarkable summer and football success for England. We expect the July data will see a continuation of this trend," said Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons.

"Adverse publicity around the casual dining market certainly is not leading to reduced eating out. Similarly, the effect of discounting in restaurants appears to be marginal."

Total sales growth across the pub and restaurant cohort, which includes the effect of new openings, was 4.2% in June, reflecting continuing if slower brand roll-outs, and running at 3.8% for the 12 months to the end of the month.

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