Pubs and restaurant groups outside London have seen a solid boost in like-for-like sales in January 2016, as the sector's overall sales both in and out of the capital rose by 1.9%.
That's according to the latest Business Tracker from CGA Peach, which studies 31 companies. Sales in London were essentially flat, registering an increase of just 0.4% compared with January 2015.
In contrast, all companies trading outside the M25 saw an year-on-year uplift of 2.4% in January. Casual dining brands outside London did especially well, outperforming pubs and bars, with a rise of 4.7%. Nationally, casual dining brands' like-for-like sales rose by 3.6%.
More generally, the long-term trend showed sector like-for-likes at 1.8% ahead for the 12 months to the end of January, compared with the previous 12-month period.
CGA Peach said the figures were positive, and should be read in the context of January as a slow trading month generally, the impact of dry January, the rainy weather, and ongoing reaction to the Paris atrocities in November.
The group of 31 companies analysed by CGA Peach - which produces the tracker with the Coffer Group, RSM and UBS â' includes: Mitchells & Butlers (owner of Harvester, Toby, Miller & Carter, All Bar One), Pizza Hut, Whitbread (Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table), Pizza Express, TGI Fridays, the Casual Dining Group (Café Rouge, Bella Italia, La Tasca, Las Iguanas), Stonegate (Slug & Lettuce, Yates'), Azzurri Restaurants (Zizzi, ASK), Wagamama, YO! Sushi, Prezzo, Fuller's, Carluccio's, Young's, Giraffe, Loungers, Byron, Peach Pub Co, and Le Bistrot Pierre.
David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group, said the strong growth outside London was no surprise and that it confirmed the trend of expansion away from an ever more expensive London market. He said this was largely due to the rising cost of living in the city centre, which was moving commuters ever further into the provinces, further enhancing trade outside the capital.
He added: "The January like-for-like sales figures for inside London reflect, to some extent, the emotional sentiment Londoners experienced as a result of the November Paris atrocity. It is comforting to note the apparent small rebound in January."
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, also agreed that the figures showed the growing maturity of regional business over the past two years.
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