The managed pub and restaurant sector returned to like-for-like growth in April after a brief dip in March, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
The uplift followed a 0.3% decline in like-for-like sales across the sector in March. April's numbers benefitted from strong trading over the four-day Easter break, when like-for-like sales were up 5.1% on last year.
Peter Martin, vice president of CGA Peach, the consultancy that produces the tracker with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS, said that while the eating and drinking-out market remains "a good news story", recent figures suggest it is harder to win extra sales.
"Underlying like-for-like growth appears to be slowing compared to the end of last year, so it will be interesting to see how the public reacts next month now that the uncertainty of the general election has gone and the summer begins," he said.
On a same store basis, London performed marginally better than the rest of the country in April with like-for-like sales over the month up 1.4% against a 1.2% increase outside the M25.
Best performers in like-for-like sales were restaurant brands outside of London, which saw growth of 3%, followed by pubs in London with business 2.3% ahead on last year.
Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, explained the sector is set to benefit from the new Government's intention to re-balance the UK economy away from London and the South East. "There was evidence that election uncertainty held back some business decisions, however, with that now behind us we expect the market to continue to thrive during the summer months."
Paul Newman, head of leisure & hospitality at Baker Tilly, added: "Sunny weather, falling fuel prices and politicians talking up the economy have come together in April to encourage consumers to continue their spending on eating and drinking-out up and down the country."
Before March's like-for-like 0.3% decline in sales, the market had enjoyed a run of 23 consecutive months of positive growth.